Prof. Dr. ISMAIL YILDIRIM
National Park contains the rich biodiversity that attracts many tourists. Despite being an attractive destination, Volcanoes National Park is facing different threats resulting from human activities including poaching, hunting, bamboo collection, and others although policies to conserve the VNP were set up. It was due to these challenges that the study was conducted to investigate the local community attitude and perception towards conservation policies around the Park. It was based on Nyange Sector in three cells selected as they were around the VNP. These cells included Kabeza, Muhabura, and Ninda. The objectives of the study were; i) to establish the whether the local residents understood well the park conservation policies, ii) to assess the role of local communities in park conservation, iii) to find out the factors deterring conservation policy implementation in VNP. Data were collected from cells contacting 45 respondents selected conveniently. The questionnaire and interview method were used to collect data. The study revealed that most local people understood well and were aware of the existing conservation policies and rules. The most common policies included; punishment to hunters, bush burners, and poachers; increasing the investment and financing (5% revenue sharing policy); developing infrastructure leading to the park; capacity building and human resources motivation; marketing and awareness reinforcement and finally supporting local community small businesses among others. The study found out that local people were somehow satisfied with some policies with exception of setting a wall of separation, and punishment of poachers. The study further revealed that local Residents play a big role in the conservation of VNP and that decision making process in matter of VNP conservation is important to the park managers where they interact and share views with local government in decisions making in terms of VNP conservation. Despite the policies already existing, the implementation of them encounters barriers including but not limited to; excessive forest resources dependency where people still have the mentality of hunting and poaching for meat and collect bamboo for basketry. These result in harming the park and the flora and fauna it shelters. Recommendations mainly focused on the increase of the awareness of conservation policies of Volcanoes National Park as well as putting more conservation policies with the involvement of community leaders and residents.