This year 1st September, Rwanda will host the 13th Kwita Izina, the gorilla naming ceremony inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming babies soon after they are born.
Since the event was established, hundreds of gorilla babies have been named in a celebration of nature together with the communities who protect Rwanda’s majestic mountain gorillas.
The event is expected to bring together thousands of Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and celebrities to Kinigi at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park.
Launched in 2005, Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, is not only a celebration of newly born mountain gorilla babies but also serves to raise awareness of the importance of the protection of species and their habitats at the community, national, regional and international levels. in 2015 Kwita Izina saw almost 500 international and 20,000 local attendees.
Kwita Izina or ‘to give a name’ in the native language Kinyarwanda, is a celebration of a new life. The event is held annually in September to name Rwanda’s new baby gorillas.
The name attributed to a mountain gorilla baby plays a significant role in the ongoing programme of monitoring each individual gorilla in its family group and habitat.
When this first started, gorilla naming was an internal programme used by Park field staff and conservation partners.
Once considered one of the world’s most endangered species and on the verge of extinction, the number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif has seen remarkable growth with a 26% population increase from 2004-2010.
A census is ongoing to determine current overall numbers in the Virunga Massif.
Naming a mountain gorilla baby is considered a great honour. Baby Namers are carefully chosen to include individuals both globally and locally that have made a great contribution to conservation efforts both in Rwanda and the world.
Kwita Izina 2017 is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. Alongside the naming ceremony, a week-long celebration of activities.
The Express News