KIGALI - Fourteen baby gorillas will be named come this Saturday in a Kwita Izina (naming) ceremony to be attended by international figures and celebrities alike.
The naming of the young gorillas will take place at the foot of Virunga Mountains in Kinigi, Nothern Province. The event, the 6th of its kind, which has gained international acclaim since its inception, will this year be celebrated together with the World Environment Day (WED) to which Rwanda is the global host.
Speaking at a Press Conference on the final preparations of the event, both the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) John Gara and the head of Tourism and Conservation, Rica Rwigamba, revealed that preparations for one of the biggest events on the conservation calendar are in the final phase.
“We want to inform the public, ahead of the event, that Kwita Izina is not just a ceremony for the fun of it...behind it lies the effort of Rwanda to ensure that these wonderful animals are conserved and celebrate the fact that we have now began to see an increase of the numbers of Gorillas,” Gara said.
He added that this year’s event would be unique as it is a “double celebration” having two events in one.
Gara added that the two events are set to draw multitudes of people from across the world ranging from conservationists, celebrities and officials from the UN.
President Paul Kagame is expected to be the guest of honour at the function which will also be broadcast across the globe by the Energy Globe TV and covered by multitudes of local and international press.
According to Rwigamba, there are many stars coming for the June 5 event but their identities would not be revealed until the final day.
“Some are yet to confirm their attendance, though we will not give out all names, we know Don Cheadle is coming, Belgian Singer Viktor Lazlo is coming, the rest you will see them,” said Rwigamba declining to give all the details.
She added that a new census for all Mountain Gorillas is being carried out to ascertain the actual number of gorillas in the Gorilla Massif. Currently numbers suggest that there are slightly more than 700 remaining in the world.