Working for birds in Africa

Viewpoint: War and conservation

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The recent war in Rwanda is considered as one of the biggest human tragedies of the twentieth century. It is estimated that around 500,000 people have been killed, more than 2 million are refugees, mainly in neighbouring countries, and around 2 million people in Rwanda now have extremely limited means. Understandably, reports have concentrated on this human tragedy and the consequences of the war on wildlife and the environment have been little reported. Undoubtedly, important damage to the wildlife and environment has occurred, which will have significant long-term effects. The impact of refugees within Rwanda and in neighbouring countries, especially in Zaire and Tanzania, is crucial; these people are enduring extremely hard conditions, and constitute a serious threat to natural resources, particularly forests, rivers, and lakes. Water quality has been affected, due mainly to corpses thrown into rivers; this has already reached the Nile basin, high in biodiversity. Sam Kanyamibwa

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