Rutagarama created and garnered support for a strategic plan that led to the agency’s rehabilitation, ensuring that the protected areas and mountain gorilla habitat were not overrun. Risking his life, he repeatedly traveled to hostile territories to deliver funds and supplies to park rangers in the DRC so they could continue their work. He went on to work with the International Gorilla Conservation Program.
Two years after receiving the Goldman Prize, Rutagarama became director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a post he held for nine years. He worked on rebuilding ecotourism, monitoring the mountain gorillas and building relationships with the communities near the parks. In 2012, Rutagarama took on the role of senior technical adviser to the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, an intergovernmental organization set up with the facilitation of IGCP by the DR of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Since 2001, Rutagarama has continued his conservation work, playing a major role in facilitating international collaboration efforts to protect the Central Albertine Rift, a biodiversity hotspot that includes the Virunga mountain gorillas’ habitat.