Saving Rwanda’s only species of crane – the grey crowned-crane – is just the first step of Olivier Nsengimana’s plan to inspire young people to invest in the conservation of his country’s extraordinary wildlife.
Wildlife conservationist Olivier Nsengimana came through the dark days of the Rwandan genocide with a passionate desire to help rebuild his country. Most at home in the lush mountain forests of northern Rwanda, he works as a field veterinarian with the world-famous Gorilla Doctors, and as a scientist conducting disease surveillance in wild animals to identify potentially dangerous viruses before they jump into the human population.
Now committed to the conservation of Rwanda’s wildlife, he is devoting himself to saving the grey crowned-crane – a symbol of longevity that is threatened with extinction.
The global population of grey crowned-cranes has crashed over the past 45 years, falling by 50–80 per cent. Their situation is so serious that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed them as “endangered” in 2012. In Rwanda there only 300 – 500 of these cranes left in the wild.