When the Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) Tourism and Conservation Department holds their annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony on Saturday, June 22, at Kinigi, outside Volcano National Park, exactly a dozen newborn gorilla babies will be named this year. One of them was only born two days ago to the joy of the park staff and the conservation and tourism fraternity at large. It was Muganga of the Isabukuru group who has given birth to a baby of yet to be determined sex.
Namers selected by RDB to perform the actual naming during the high-profile ceremony are normally given a choice of two names, at times three, proposed by the rangers and wardens looking after the gorilla groups, and reflect often the circumstances of the birth, make reference to the location, or reflect the mood of the group at the time.
Kwita Izina has, over the years, developed into a week-long celebration, during which conferences and workshops dedicated to conservation take place, community projects benefiting the people living around the Volcano National Park are handed over or launched, and where sporting and society events are used to mark Rwanda’s unwavering commitment to looking after the gentle giants of the Virunga mountains.
Travelers from around the world are now regularly planning visits to Rwanda to coincide with the annual Festival of the Gorillas which is unique in the range countries where mountain gorillas are found.