Thousands of Rwandans – including many Fossey Fund staff – gathered near Volcanoes National Park last week to celebrate the annual naming ceremony for infant gorillas, known as Kwita Izina. The names chosen have special meanings, as they reflect various aspects of the mountain gorillas or gorilla conservation in general.
This was the 18th year of the event, which is organized by the Rwandan government, and drew lots of excitement, following two years of virtual ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s 20 gorilla namers included a variety of dignitaries, conservation and business leaders, celebrities, sports stars and others. Joining in via video was Prince Charles, now King Charles III, who chose the first infant name – “Ubwuzuzanye” – which means “harmony” in Kinyarwanda and reflects the need to restore harmony between nature, people and the planet.
Infant gorillas in the groups we monitor are named
Of course many of the gorillas named this year live in groups that are protected every day by Fossey Fund trackers. We are especially excited to reveal their new names because you’ll be hearing more about these youngsters from us, as they grow up under our watch.
Indangagaciro – “Values”
Born Aug. 15, 2021
Indangagaciro, whose name was chosen to highlight the value that Rwanda attaches to the preservation and conservation of gorillas, is the third infant from mother Ubufatanye in Musilikale’s group. This is a great group to grow up in. With many infants, three large silverbacks for protection and a total of 24 gorillas in total, Indangagaciro will always have someone to play with and keep him safe.
Kwanda – “Expand”
Born Oct. 12, 2021
Also in Musilikale’s group is little Kwanda, whose name was chosen to reflect the program underway to expand the mountain gorilla habitat in Volcanoes National Park. Kwanda is the second offspring of mother Izihirwa, whose 7-year-old daughter will be able to contribute to the development of this youngster.
Nyririndekwe – “Protector”
Born Jan. 21, 2022
This infant is the youngest of the six infants in Musilikale’s group. His name was chosen to celebrate the protective nature of the mountain gorillas and their role as guardians of the forest. Nyirindekwe is the second surviving offspring of mother Bukima. He’s still too young to play with the other youngsters in the group, but that will change in a couple of months.
Ubwitange – “Sacrifice”
Born Aug. 28, 2021
Ubwitange was born in Ntambara’s group, where there are three other infants to play with. The infant is still very close to mother Nsanganira but is starting to explore surroundings and try out new foods. The new name means “sacrifice,” and recognizes the dedication of park staff, local communities and conservation partners to preserving the biodiversity of the forest.
Turikumwe – “We are together”
Born April 8, 2022
This infant also lives in Ntambara’s group and is the youngest member. Mother Urahirwa is only 12 years old and this is her first infant. But there are other mothers in the group to learn from, including her older sister, as well as three other infants who will make great playmates soon. Turikumwe’s name was chosen to highlight the importance of working together to achieve successful conservation outcomes, as well as to recognize the many partners who work together to protect the mountain gorillas.
Ubusugire – “Integrity”
Born Dec. 9, 2021
Ubusugire is the youngest member of the historic Pablo group, and is the first infant of mother Gwira. This group is the longest-studied of all, starting in Dian Fossey’s time when it evolved from her study Group 5. The infant’s new name celebrates the efforts of communities and conservationists to protect the biodiverse integrity of Rwanda’s national parks.
Imbaduko – “Vivacity”
Born Oct. 2021
This infant is the youngest in Kureba’s group and the second infant of mother Akamaro. Four-year-old brother Karame spends a lot of time with his mom and younger sibling and there are several other infants who will be ready to play as Imbaduko grows. Imbaduko’s name celebrates the commitment of the Rwandan people to the protection of mountain gorillas.
Indatezuka – “Resilient”
Born Sept. 13, 2021
The name of this infant was chosen to highlight the resilience of the Rwandan people and the protection of the country’s biodiversity. Indatezuka and mother Igitangaza live in a group of eight gorillas, led by silverback Mutobo.