Twenty two baby gorillas to be named in traditional Rwandan naming ceremony

Rwanda will celebrate the seventh annual Kwita Izina, or gorilla naming ceremony, on Saturday 18 June.

Kwita Izina (literally “naming”) is a traditional Rwandan ceremony held when a child is born, welcoming them into the family and community. Neighbours, family and friends gather in a festive ceremony as the parents bring out the child and reveal the name they have chosen for the child.

The Rwandan people are the custodians of the local mountain gorilla population, responsible for their well-being, protection and the conservation of their habitat. Every year neighbours, friends, conservationists and dignitaries are invited to join the local community as the new born gorillas are named.

This years ceremony, in Kinigi, Musanze District in the Northern Province of Rwanda will see 22 baby mountain gorillas named.

Since Naming Day began seven years ago, the event has hosted over 20,000 participants annually including international celebrities and distinguished members of the conservation and tourism communities.

This years theme, ‘Community development for sustained conservation’ will emphasise the importance of conservation in the development of living around the national parks, particularly the Volcanoes National Park.

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.  IGCP do not play a direct role in Kwita Izina, but  we believe we would not be celebrating the naming of these 22 baby mountain gorillas without them.

Photo credit: Nyabitondore Infant – Pablo Group, from Kwita Izina