Kwita Izina Background/Ceremonies of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
The mountain Gorillas share with the human beings 98% of the genes and about a third of the world’s total mountain gorilla’s population live in Rwanda.
The Rwanda Office of Tourism and Volcanoes National Park (ORTPN) and indeed the entire Rwandan community found it pertinent to extend the much cherished secular Rwandan tradition of naming every new born baby to the Gorillas as well.
The ceremony of giving a name to a new born baby commonly known as “Kwita Izina” has been part of the Rwandan tradition for centuries.
This ceremony has also been used for past 3 decades now to give names to new born gorillas. The names attributed to the gorillas play a great part in the program of monitoring of each individual and gorilla groups in its habitat. Since this started, the gorilla naming ceremony was internal to the ORTPN and its partners and especially among the field staff.
As a means of raising awareness at the national and international level about the protection of the mountain gorillas and their habitat. ORTPN launched the annual gorilla naming ceremony in 2005.
The theme of 2005 ceremony was “Ensure the Future of the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda”.
In 2006, the theme was “Recognize the Role of the International Tourists who Selected Rwanda as Destination” and in 2007, the theme was “Caring for Wildlife Concerns Us All”.
In April 2007, Kwita Izina (to give a name) was unveiled as the new brand name for the Gorilla Naming Ceremony.
During these three last ceremonies which were very successful, ORTPN and its special guests named 30, 12 and 23 mountain gorillas, respectively.
2008: Working together to conserve our Wildlife—20 gorillas named.
In 2009 was the Fifth Annual Kwita Izina
On Saturday, June 20th 2009, the RDB Tourism & Conservation – the successor of ORTPN– will host the Fifth Kwita Izina to give names to the newest arrivals in the Gorilla families. Names will be given to eighteen (18) mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park.
The 2010 year’s ceremony coincided with the “International Year of the Gorilla,” proclaimed by the United Nations.
The International Year of the Gorilla was launched at a ceremony in early December 2008, where Prince Albert II of Monaco and representatives of more than 100 governments gathered to discuss increasing measures for nearly 100 species endangered by pollution, climate change and over-hunting.
By declaring 2009 the International Year of the Gorilla, the international community hopes to draw the attention of the public and funding agencies to the plight of these primates. As a country that has been in the forefront of gorilla conservation we heartily welcome the proclamation of the International Year of the Gorilla.
The theme for 2010 was “Celebrating the Year of the Gorilla”. Under this theme, we celebrated the efforts of all those that have contributed to the welfare of our wildlife and its conservation and gave opportunity to everyone to contribute to the sustainability of conservation for Gorillas.
There were over 100 key personalities in wildlife conservation and business to attend the event.
The Gorilla Naming campaign is aimed at ensuring the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and will provide an opportunity for all those who care about the mountain gorillas to contribute to this common effort.