RWANDA: 10th Kwita Izina Gorilla naming ceremony

Kwita IzinaRwanda has over the years welcomed thousands of enthusiastic international, regional and local visitorsto her Volcanoes National Park magnetized by the endangered mountain gorilla. The survival of themountain gorilla has been made possible thanks to renewed efforts led by the Rwandan Government,with support from international conservation organizations, donors, concerned individuals and localcommunities that have contributed substantial resources and energy towards gorilla conservation.

The world’s remaining endangered mountain gorilla territory is limited to the Virunga Massif, a chain ofvolcanic mountains shared by Rwanda, DRC and Uganda, as well as the neighboring Bwindi ImpenetrableForest. Rwanda boasts two third of the Virunga Massif’s remaining endangered mountain gorillapopulation.

The Government of Rwanda, via the Rwanda Development Board, in collaboration with variousconservation partners comprising communities and local and international NGOs, has been activelyprotecting these species and their habitat. Conservation is high on the national agenda, not only for theprotection of mountain gorillas and other keystone species, but also their habitats and ecosystems.

Kwita Izina Ceremony in Rwanda

The Rwandan ceremony of naming a newborn baby child has been part of the country’s culture andtradition for centuries. The naming ceremony of Mountain Gorillas is modeled on this centuries oldtradition. Names attributed to the gorillas play a significant role in the on-going program of monitoringeach individual gorilla in their families and habitat.

Kwita Izina, the uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness ofconservation efforts of the endangered mountain gorilla. For three decades prior to the first officialgorilla naming ceremony, the naming of newborn gorillas was carried out with little awareness amidstthe public or the rangers and researchers that closely monitor these unique animals on a daily basis.

The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony has been attended by many thousands of international,regional and local visitors over recent years. For decades, international conservation organizations,donors and concerned individuals have donated substantial resources to the gorilla conservation causeand continue to do so. Each year newborn gorilla babies are celebrated in an exciting event at the foot

of the Virunga Mountains.

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Edition 60May 2014

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