The disheartening news concerning this sanctuary of biodiversity, home to a plethora of animal species including numerous monkey varieties, unfolded on August 20, 2023, around 1:00 PM.
Initial reports suggest that the ferocity of the fire may have been underestimated, compounded by its remote location distanced from populated areas.
Daniel Ndamyimana, the executive secretary of the Bweyeye sector, swiftly engaged security forces to collaborate with local residents. Regrettably, despite their collective efforts, the inferno continues to rage unchecked.
"Challenges persist in extinguishing the flames due to exacerbated weather conditions. Residents, armed with hoes and shovels to construct firebreaks, have encountered precarious situations. Unforeseen factors such as falling trees or sudden gusts of wind have further fanned the flames," he said.
Eyewitnesses on-site indicated that, as of Sunday, approximately 15 hectares have succumbed to the ravages of the fire. However, a relentless battle against the devastation is underway.
Ndamyimana commends the unwavering dedication of the residents who have valiantly fought against this relentless blaze. He implores them to persist, underscoring that the park is not merely a local treasure, but a national and global heritage that demands protection.
Encompassing a sprawling 1,019 km², Nyungwe National Park teeters on the brink of disaster as the flames continue to rage.
Within its confines, a staggering 1,068 plant species, 13 primate species, 275 bird species, alongside a diverse array of animals including buffaloes and various reptiles, find refuge.