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Infant mountain gorilla. Credit: Giles Clark

Twelve baby gorillas named in traditional ceremony

Posted on: 24.06.13 (Last edited) 24 June 2013

Rwanda celebrates as thousands take part in the 2013 naming ceremony celebrating mountain gorilla conservation.

On Saturday 22 June the Rwanda Development Board hosted the ninth annual Kwita Izina in Kinigi, Musanze, a traditional ceremony naming mountain gorilla babies born throughout the past year.

Names were given to 12 baby mountain gorillas, as well as one newly formed family, due to an established separation of the Karisimbi group, at the Volcanoes National Park. The theme for this year was ‘Celebrating nature, empowering communities’.

Kwita Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming a baby soon after its birth. In the nine years since the event has been established, 161 gorillas have been named in a celebration of nature and the communities who protect these magnificent animals.

Grounds where Kwita Izina is held annually. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

Grounds where Kwita Izina is held annually. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

This year’s ceremony included performances by Rwanda’s famous National Ballet and local musicians. Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Hamuremyi was the guest of honour at the ceremony during which he and other selected individuals gave names to the infant gorillas.

The traditional Rwandan ceremony of naming infant gorillas takes place annually. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

The traditional Rwandan ceremony of naming infant gorillas takes place annually. Credit: Ally Catterick/FFI

The remaining home range of the Critically Endangered mountain gorilla is limited to the Virunga Massif, a chain of volcanic mountains shared by Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. Fauna & Flora International, African Wildlife Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature are proud coalition partners of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP). Without the tireless work of IGCP and other NGOs, gorilla populations in Rwanda, DRC and Uganda would not be where they stand today.

Written by
Ally Catterick

Ally worked in media management and PR for clients including comedians Eddie Izzard and Ed Byrne before becoming Publicity Manager for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Strategy and communications for conservation organisation Greening Australia and her role as Unit and Company Publicist for production company Roving Enterprises followed, until she was introduced to FFI upon their arrival in Australia in 2008. Ally became a founding board member – until moving to the UK to become the organisation's Communications Manager. Ally is now FFI's Deputy Director of Communications and oversees all communications for FFI globally.

Other posts by Ally Catterick

In the nine years since the event has been established, 161 gorillas have been named in a celebration of nature and the communities who protect these magnificent animals

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