Fifth Kwita Izina slated for June 20

18 baby gorillas to be named Rwanda Development Board (RDB), through its tourism department has set the fifth edition of the gorilla naming ceremony for June 20 at the foot of Virunga Mountains.
Youth residents of Kinigi at last year’s Kwita Izina ceremony. (File Photo).
Youth residents of Kinigi at last year’s Kwita Izina ceremony. (File Photo).

18 baby gorillas to be named

Rwanda Development Board (RDB), through its tourism department has set the fifth edition of the gorilla naming ceremony for June 20 at the foot of Virunga Mountains.

The ceremony, which has become one of the country’s annual calendar’s most colourful events, will see, according to RDB, 18 gorillas named under the theme: ‘Celebrating the International Year of the Gorilla’.

“We are expecting over 100 delegates to the event and these include conservationists, representatives from UNESCO, officials from other Gorilla Range States, and entertainers,” said Faustin Karasira, the head of the Kwita Izina Project. He added that a weeklong series of events will be held prior to the ceremony.

The week will see the launch of community projects in Musanze, Burera and Nyabihu Districts, a Conservation Conference, and Igitaramo (Traditional festival).

The conference will be hosted by the RDB-Tourism and Conservation with the active participation of trans-boundary partners from Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The habitat of the rare species cuts across the three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC.

“As home of the majestic mountain gorillas, we use this opportunity to remind the world of the treasure we have and encourage all to get involved in the preservation of their habitat and of their lives,” said Karasira.

A statement from RDB quotes the Deputy CEO in charge of Tourism and Conservation Rosette Rugamba as saying; “this event will be celebrating the efforts of those that have contributed to our success in the conservation of our wildlife. We are inviting everyone to contribute to the sustainability of the conservation of gorillas.”

The event comes at a time when the tourism sector is booming in the country and recently, Rwanda was voted among the “Top 10” tourism destinations in the world by Lonely Planet (2009), one of the world’s leading travel guides.

The Kwita Izina campaign aims at ensuring the future of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and provides an opportunity for all those who care about the gorillas to contribute to this common effort.

As part of efforts to give back to local communities; RDB-Tourism & Conservation contributed Rwf 460m in 2008 towards supporting 11 schools, building 3 health centres, 4 water tanks and 15 water spring taps.

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