On Saturday June 20th, 2009, Rwanda will proudly host the fifth Kwita Izina Ceremony. This is a time when baby mountain gorillas are named.
‘Kwita Izina’ is so important that hundreds of people come from around the world and all corners of Rwanda just to give a name to a baby gorilla.
One would wonder why of all the animals, it’s Gorillas that get to be named. Well, they are the biggest tourist attractions that Rwanda has.
According to ORTPN- Rwanda’s tourism body, more than 20,000 tourists flood the country each year to see these beautiful animals. They mostly live in Virunga Mountain located in Musanze district in the Northern Province of Rwanda.
Gorillas are the largest of the living primates and the last members of the Ape family. Among the gorilla species, the most endangered are mountain gorillas because they are often killed by people or wild animals.
Mountain Gorillas are large and tall (5-7 feet). Males weigh twice as much as the females and both have very strong long arms that enable them to climb trees.
Their bodies are covered with long dark hair that allows them to survive in the cold mountains. Just like people, male gorillas develop gray hair on their backs as a sign of old age and are called Silverbacks.
They feed on leaves, fruits and stems. During the day, gorillas rest and sun bathe! They do this in the on the temporary grass nests made from the surrounding vegetation. Infants sleep in the same nests as their mothers.
Though gorillas look tough and fierce, they are shy and so afraid of reptiles. They take off when they see a small chameleon!
However, when they sense danger, the Silverbacks make an alarm that sends the rest hiding. Unless they are provoked, they can never harm anyone.
In the whole world, mountain gorillas can only be found in the Virunga Volcanic Mountains of Central Africa and Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest.