Mountain gorillas
(Credit: Sarel Kromer / Wikimedia)

In parts of Rwanda, dry seasons are becoming longer and more intense. To find water, local people are trekking deep into Volcanoes National Park.

Advani: “When they do this, they often set snares. The snares are for bush meat, but oftentimes they’ll end up catching mountain gorillas as well. And mountain gorillas, there’s only about 1,000 individuals left, so losing even just one individual, it’s a really big deal.”

Nikhil Advani of the World Wildlife Fund says he and his team looked at how climate change affects endangered animals.

Advani: “What we quickly realized is that the biggest threat to a lot of these species probably comes from humans and how humans are being affected by climate change.”

So they launched a program called Climate Crowd. They work with Peace Corps volunteers and NGOs with staff in remote areas. The partners conduct interviews to learn how locals are responding to climate change, and how that, in turn, affects wildlife.

That information can be used to develop solutions. In Rwanda …

Advani: “… they installed rainwater harvesting tanks. And these accumulated enough water during the wet season that it helped get them through the dry season without having to enter the park.”

So as the climate changes, helping people can help wildlife, too.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Species & Ecosystems