It’s Rwanda Week here at Ker & Downey. We’re taking an in-depth look at the ins and outs of traveling to Rwanda. This incredible country has become one of Africa’s greatest success stories. Today, we’re looking at Kwita Izina, an annual tradition in Rwanda to name baby gorillas.
In Rwanda there is a long-held tradition of naming a newly born baby soon after its birth. In 2005, the Government of Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board, and several conservation partners started the first Kwita Izina. It is now an annual tradition of naming the baby mountain gorillas born during the year. It’s an event that has been attended by thousands of visitors, both local and international, over the years.
Prior to 2005, the rangers and researchers who interact with and check on the gorillas each day would quietly name the babies themselves. But through Kwita Izina, Rwanda can bring awareness to the conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorillas. It seems their efforts are working, too. In 2010, just seven years after the first Kwita Izina, the gorilla population of Virunga registered a 26.3% growth. This is significant because gorilla trekking contributes substantially to Rwanda’s tourism and economic growth. Another census will be conducted on the growth of the gorilla population. The hope is that it will return the same rate of growth as in years past.
This past September, 24 baby gorillas were named at the 11th annual Kwita Izina naming ceremony in Kinigi. The exciting event included entertainment from local artists and attracted close to 20,000 people. It’s a once in a lifetime event you’ll want to add to your travel list.
For more information about the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony or traveling to Rwanda, contact your Luxury Travel Consultant. To stay up to date on all our online content, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.