Last week, the 9th Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony, also known as “Kwita Izina”, took place at the foot of the Virunga Mountains.
The colorful event attracted thousands of visitors including international celebrities, government officials, tourists and of course Great Lakes Safaris Director Amos Wekesa.
One of the person to name a baby gorilla was American actor Isaiah Washington, who chose the name ‘Karisimbi’. Also Nigerian film actor Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr named a baby mountain gorilla ‘Ganza’, meaning ‘always dominating’. Others who had the honor to name a gorilla were the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, an American economist and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Under the theme “Celebrating Nature, Empowering Communities” a total 12 baby gorillas were named during the yearly ceremony. Since the launch of the Kwita Izina, the mountain gorilla population has grown by 26%, resulting in 161 baby gorillas that have been born in the last 8 years.
The famous event however does not only focus on Kwita Izina but also aims at celebrating Rwanda’s tourism and its successful conservation efforts. “Kwita Izina enables us to express ourselves, our experiences in life, aspirations for the future and our dreams,” says Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).