“As soon as I was out in the field, working with these animals, I thought, wow, this is me, conservation is what I was meant to do with my life.”
Olivier Nsengimana chose to volunteer as a field veterinarian for Gorilla Doctors as a way of giving back to his country. While the gorilla is a famously iconic symbol of Rwanda’s endangered species, many others are also under threat from poaching and habitat encroachment. Nsengimana is currently on a mission to save the grey crowned-crane, which is fast dying out in Rwanda because of illegal poaching.
He plans to do this by persuading those who keep the birds as pets – which is illegal – to take advantage of an amnesty programme and relinquish them to a rehabilitation centre, from where they can be released into the wild. Additionally, he is establishing a database of grey crowned-cranes in the country and embarking on an awareness-raising campaign through the media to persuade people of the importance of conservation and the necessity of finding livelihoods that do not threaten endangered species.