June 10, 2013
Getting Ready for “Kwita Izina” Gorilla-Naming Ceremony
Billboards are going up all over Rwanda as the ninth annual Kwita Izina ceremony is rapidly approaching. Kwita Izina is a five-day celebration of the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, culminating in a ceremony in which all of the infant gorillas born in the past year are named. The infant-naming ceremony will be held this year on June 22, and the 12 mountain gorillas whose births were recorded this year, including six infants born in the gorilla groups monitored by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, will receive their names. The names are picked and voted on by those who know the gorillas best — the trackers and park authorities.
In the days preceding the naming ceremony, community activities will take place in honor of the celebration to promote the importance of conservation. One of the most exciting activities is a caravan tour that starts in Kigali and arrives in Kinigi on the 22nd. The caravan tour will stop at many local farms and tourism sites along the way. This year, for the first time ever, the caravan will be making a stop at the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center for a tour of the facility and to learn more about how the Fossey Fund contributes to the conservation of gorillas. The theme of this year’s celebration, sponsored by the Rwanda Development Board’s Tourism and Conservation Departments, is “Celebrating Nature and Empowering Communities.”