Volcanoes National Park is the oldest of the wildlife protected areas in Africa; originally set up to protect the Mountain Gorillas from poachers. The park is 160 square kilometers in size and is a part of the larger Virunga system that crosses the Ugandan, Rwandan and Democratic Republic of Congo borders.
In 1967 Dian Fossey, the American Zoologist moved her research from the forests of the Congo to the Volcanoes due to insecurity in the Congo and set up the Karisoke Research Center. Here between the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcano mountains, she continued her research and advocacy work relating to the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Fossey spearheaded the conservation campaign of the Silverbacks (the male Mountain Gorillas) and their families, and mobilized activities to fight the poaching in the area. Fossey was murdered in 1985 and buried at the Research Center next to her favorite gorilla, Digit.
Volcanoes National Park is not only the home of the Mountain Gorillas, but there are many Primates including the endangered Golden Monkeys. Because of the variety of landscaped in the park, there are many mammals roaming about, including the spotted Hyena, Buffalo, Elephant, Black-Fronted Duiker and the Bushbuck. The park has almost 200 species of birds, 29 endemic to the Rwenzori Mountains and the Virungas.
For tourists, there are endless numbers of activities besides the animals; the indigenous people offer incredible cultural activities in various locations, as well as mountain climbing on the volcanoes, forest trails and bat caves, the largest of which is 2 kilometers in length.