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Infant gorilla naming 2023 – Kwita Izina

Since 2005, September has been the month that Rwandans and all of us here at the Fossey Fund celebrate the birth of the mountain gorillas born in the past year. At Rwanda’s annual Kwita Izina ceremony, the infants each receive their official names, which are chosen to reflect various aspects of gorilla life and conservation.

This year has been a wonderful one for the groups historically monitored and protected by the Fossey Fund, as we welcomed 12 new infants since last year’s celebration. And more infants were born in the eight additional groups that we now study, which are protected by the Rwanda Development Board.

Missed the ceremony? Check out the replay here!

Dushishoze's gorilla group

We are excited to share that Gutangara and her daughter, Shishikara, both gave birth this past year and their infants received their names at this year’s Kwita Izina. This mother-daughter duo also gave birth at nearly the same time four years ago! The group is thriving, with its nine members.

Female gorilla Gutangara and her infant gorilla

Gutangara’s infant: Mugisha

Name meaning: Blessing

Named by: Cyrille Bolloré

D.O.B. Dec. 6, 2022

Shishikara and her infant gorilla

Shishikara’s infant: Inganzo

Name meaning: Origin/source 

Named by: Bukola Elemide, a.k.a. Aṣa

D.O.B. Sept. 22, 2022

Musilikale's gorilla group

Musilikale’s group is the largest group of gorillas monitored by the Fossey Fund, with a total of 24 gorillas.It includes many females, several silverbacks and quite a few youngsters, so it’s quite a lively and dynamic group and a wonderful group in which to observe mothers and infants.

Female Gorilla Isaro and her infant

Isaro’s infant: Uburinganire

Name meaning: Gender equality

Named by: Joe Schoendorf

D.O.B. Jan. 16, 2023

(Same day as Dian Fossey!)

Muntu’s infant: Umucunguzi

Name meaning: Redeemer

Named by: Nick Stone

D.O.B. May 13, 2023

Mutobo's gorilla group

With three newborns, Mutobo’s group had the record for the most infants born this year and boasts 10 members. Silverback Mutobo built his group from scratch, adding just one or two females at a time. He was then able to settle his new family into an area of the forest and successfully avoid most interactions with other groups. So it seems he now prioritizes family time, rather than his earlier ambition to attract more females.

Female Gorilla Ishyaka and her infant

Ishyaka’s infant: Aguka

Name meaning: Expansion

Named by: Danai Gurira

D.O.B. Oct. 8, 2022

Female Gorilla Mudakama and her infant

Mudakama’s infant:


Name meaning: Long life

Named by: Idris Elba, OBE

and Sabrina Dhowre Elba

D.O.B. Oct. 29, 2022

Female Gorilla Akaramata and her infant

Akaramata’s infant:


Name meaning: Support

Named by: Larry Green

D.O.B. July 1, 2023

Pablo's gorilla group

This group has been monitored since it formed in 1993! Under the leadership of the late great silverback Cantsbee, it once reached a high of 65 gorillas. Currently it has 18 gorillas, including a number of infants and several silverbacks who sometimes watch over them when the group is resting. And the adult and juvenile females often help take care of infants in the group too, allowing the mothers to rest or forage for food.

Female Gorilla Teta and infant

Teta’s infant: Mukundwa
Name meaning: Favored
Named by: Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP
D.O.B. Oct. 9, 2022

Segasira's gorilla group

This group formed just a year ago and now has eight gorillas, with Segasira being the only silverback. He is a son of the legendary silverback Titus, who was first studied by Dian Fossey. As the only silveback, Segasira has to protect the group and keep the adult females happy and feeling safe, so he has a lot of responsibility. As the younger females mature soon, we hope to see even more infants arrive in this group.

Female Gorilla Taraja and her infant

Taraja’s infant: Jijuka

Name meaning: Enlightenment

Named by: Sol Campbell

D.O.B. Feb. 22, 2023

Ubuhamya’s infant: Nibagwire

Name meaning: Multiply

Named by: Elvine Ineza

D.O.B. May 29, 2023

Ntambara's gorilla group

This group now consists of 14 gorillas and is diverse, with several silverbacks, adult females and infants, all under the protection of leader Twibuke, who inherited the group at a young age, when the previous dominant silverback died.

Female Gorilla Kurinda Infant Daughter

Kurinda’s infant: Bigwi
Name meaning: Achiever
Named by: Ineza Umuhoza Grace
D.O.B. Aug. 14, 2022

Kuryama's gorilla group

Kuryama’s group ranges most of the time over the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our Rwandan trackers cannot go. However, the gorillas sometimes cross back into Rwanda and we are able to see what has changed in the group.

Female Gorilla Keza Infant sleeping.JPG

Keza’s infant: Murare
Name meaning: Sleepover
Named by: Innocent Dusabeyezu
D.O.B. June 9, 2022