Kwita Izina: Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony
Rwanda Gorilla Naming Ceremony, locally known as ‘Kwita Izina’ is an annual event for allocating names to newly-born baby mountain gorillas in the course of the year. Every year in June, the baby gorillas in the country are given names in a mammoth event at the foot of Volcanoes National Park which is an extension of the Virunga Mountains in a ceremony known as “Kwita Izina”. This event has been part of the local tradition for years.
Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Park (ORTPN) and the entire local community found it relevant to make bigger the much treasured Rwandan tradition of naming every new-born gorilla. In this ceremony, the names endorsed to the gorillas play a large part in the program of monitoring of each individual gorilla and gorilla groups in their habitation. Introduced in 2005, Kwita Izina was to create awareness for safeguarding of mountain Gorillas that are in danger of extinction. The event gets thousands of intercontinental, regional and home visitors to its Virunga mountain ranges. For decades, global conservation organisations, donors and concerned individuals have made considerable resources obtainable to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so.
A bigger percentage of revenues from tourism activities at the park go towards maintaining the park and preserving the flora and fauna life. The balance goes to government and about 10% to local projects in the area to boost the well being of the natives.
Kwita Izina and the relevancy of its themes Every year, the event is given a well-thought about theme relevant to the conservation, protection and safeguarding of the Endangered Gorillas in Rwanda and the general environment in this country of a thousand hills.
- The theme of 2005 ceremony was “Ensure the Future of the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda”.
- In 2006, the theme was “Recognize the Role of the International Tourists who Selected Rwanda as Destination”.
- In 2007, the theme was “Caring for Wildlife Concerns Us All”.
- In April 2007, Kwita Izina (to give a name) was unveiled as the new brand name for the Gorilla Naming Ceremony. During the last three ceremonies which were very successful, ORTPN and its special guests named 30, 12 and 23 mountain gorillas, respectively.
- In 2008: Working together to conserve our Wildlife and 20 gorillas named.
- The theme for 2009 was “Celebrating the Year of the Gorilla”. During this event, efforts of all those that have contributed to the welfare of Rwanda wildlife and its conservation and give opportunity to everyone to contribute to the sustainability of preservation for Gorillas were recognized. The 2009 ceremony also coincided with the “International Year of the Gorilla,” proclaimed by the United Nations.
Every year, the government gets a theme that is relevant to the conservation and preservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Rwanda, a tiny East African country thrives much on tourism with gorilla trekking taking the lead.
Inception of Kwita Izina
In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become an international celebration of nature. By giving a name to these majestic primates, they are given the value they unquestionably deserve. The ceremony is an opportunity to thank in a special way the communities that dwell near Volcanoes National Park, research partners, veterinary personnel and the hardworking conservationists, rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas tirelessly throughout the year.
Over the last 18 years, over 300 mountain gorillas have been given names during this grand ceremony. At present, Kwita Izina forms part of an ambitiously broader campaign to conserve the country’s natural heritage and further widen the role of tourism in society transformation. With this gorilla naming event, people from all walks of life get to comprehend the intrinsic value of mountain gorillas and their contribution to the country’s growth.