Rwanda: Kwita Izina – 20 Baby Gorillas to Be Named Next Month
A total of 20 baby gorillas will be given names at this year’s gorilla naming ceremony, commonly known as Kwita Izina, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has announced.
The ceremony, slated for September 2, will see all baby gorillas born last year named in Kinigi, Musanze.
For the first time, since the outbreak of Covid-19, it will be held physically, joining the communities living around the home of the endangered mountain gorillas in the ultimate celebration of nature and conservation.
“We are excited to return to Kinigi this year for the 18th Kwita izina ceremony after holding it virtually for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ariella Kageruka, Head of Tourism and Conservation department said on Friday, August 19.
Kageruka was addressing a press conference hosted at the Nyandungu eco-tourism park.
She was flanked by different officials including Dancilla Nyirarugero, Governor of Northern Province, Faustin Munyazikwiye, Deputy Director General at Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), representatives from Akagera National Park, among others.
“This year we celebrate the gains made in our conservation efforts, notably the increase in our gorilla population and the partners and communities who actively participate in the daily conservation and sustainability efforts to ensure a harmonious human-wildlife coexistence,” Kageruka added.
Celebrations also come at a time when there is dire need to expand the habitat of the mountain gorillas, she added.
Commenting on the efforts to improve livelihoods of park communities while enabling wildlife conservation, Kageruka said that a number of initiatives including the tourism revenue share program reflect significant steps.
For instance, she said, that the program initiated in 2005 has seen over 7.9 billion distributed to more than 880 community-based projects.
The major ceremony, Kageruka said, will run along with a number of other events including Rhino Cycling Vello, the Business of Conservation Conference, organised in partnership with the African Leadership University (ALU), among others.
When asked about this year’s names, Kageruka declined to comment on the list but said that notable partners, conservationists, international celebrities, dignitaries and friends of Rwanda are expected to be among them.
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After a challenging period during the Covid-19 pandemic, inbound tourism to Rwanda has been showing a promising return.
According to RDB, revenues increased by 25 percent from $131 million in 2020 to $164 million in 2021, from over 512,000 international visitors last year.
Named after a Rwandan tradition of baby naming, Kwita Izina is a flagship event on the country’s tourism calendar and it has been annually held since 2005.
Among others, the event aims at emphasising the importance of the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas, and also to recognise the role of those who dedicate their time to conserving them.
On the front of recreational environments, Munyazikwiye told The New Times that the government has secured $15 million to rehabilitate five more wetlands.