The ‘Kwita Izina’ gorilla baby naming ceremony, held on the first Friday of September every year, is based on a traditional Rwandan naming ceremony held for new born human babies which has been a part of the Rwandan culture for centuries. The infant gorillas are now named by conservation, business, sports, fashion and show biz icons from around the world.
It was introduced in 2005 to raise awareness for conservation efforts, as the Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board has achieved great success in protecting the endangered mountain gorilla population, working with conservation partners, the private sector and the community to conserve their natural habitat.
Before the introduction of the ceremony, infant gorillas were named by park rangers, researchers and scientists, following the footsteps of late American primatologist and conservationist, Dr. Dian Fossey, who named all the gorillas she was studying back in the 70’s in order to accurately observe and learn about them.
This year, thousands of Rwandans, conservation champions and celebrities from around the world gathered at Kinigi, Musanze, on the foothills of Volcanoes National Park to celebrate the 15th Kwita Izina baby gorilla naming ceremony.
It was attended by 1000 VIPs from around the world, 4000 invitees and 30000 members of the community in Rwanda. All the honorary gorilla baby namers were also given the opportunity to trek through the mountains and visit the gorilla baby and family they named.
The event spans a week and includes special activities related to conservation, educational exhibits and community projects held in different areas of Rwanda including the capital city of Kigali.
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