KINIGI - Renowned media mogul and philanthropist, Ted Turner, over the weekend visited the Virunga National Park, and trekked the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. He was later received by President Paul Kagame in Kigali.
Mr Turner expressed his admiration for Rwanda’s efforts in reconstruction and in environmental protection in particular.
Mr Turner, best known as creator of CNN, was on a private visit to Rwanda where he went on a five-day tour of gorillas and golden monkeys through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International which receives funding from the Turner Foundation.
Mr. Turner was the recipient of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Global Conservation Award.
The American who has partially owned Time Warner, one of the leading multi-media companies, visited the Kwitonda Family of gorillas on his first trip and Umubano family on his second day before he trekked Kabatwa Golden monkeys.
Speaking after the visit, Turner commended Rwanda, saying that he has had a terrific time of not only seeing the gorillas but also ‘the beautiful country and its people.’ He called upon the media to talk about conservation, and all people to work towards conserving the planet.
“If we don’t conserve the planet we shall die, we have to take care of the planet because it’s our home,” he said after visiting the Virunga, the habitat for the remaining species of mountain gorillas in the entire world.
Turner said that the biggest challenge lies in ensuring the safety of the park and blocking cases of poachers and other threats to the mountain gorillas.
As a philanthropist, Turner is known for his $1 billion gift to support UN causes, which created the United Nations Foundation, a public charity to broaden support for the UN and he serves as Chairman of the United Nations Foundation.
Catherine Crier who was traveling with Turner named one of the baby gorillas, from Umubano group Ejo Hazaza, meaning ‘the future.”
Turner’s visit to the gorillas comes ahead of the fourth annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony commonly known as Kwita Izina, a ceremony that sees the naming of baby gorillas born in that year.
This year’s Kwita Izina is slated for June 20.