KIGALI - The conservation conference which precedes the annual Kwita Izina ceremony opens today in Kigali, bringing together conservationists from the region and beyond.
Kwita Izina is an internationally recognised event to name baby gorillas.
The conference organised by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will bring together conservationists from regional countries.
“This year has been declared the International Year of Forests, which creates an opportunity to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests during the conference,” RDB announced in a statement.
“The Kwita Izina Conservation Conference is organised under the theme ‘Forest stewardship by community; contributions, benefits and prospects”.
The 7th annual Kwiti Izina ceremony is slated for Saturday, June 18 in Kinigi, Musanze District, at the foot of Virunga Mountains in the Northern Province.
According to RDB, this year’s theme, “Community development for sustained conservation” emphasises the importance of conservation in the development of the people living around the national parks as well as the role communities play in the conservation of biodiversity.
The conference will be followed by launching development projects in communities surrounding the Volcanoes National Parks and a community party, Igitaramo on Friday.
“In 2011, Kwita Izina is about consolidating the gains made over the past seven years and ensuring continuity of growth in the population of the gorillas and tourists as well as continued harmonious community-gorilla coexistence,” said John Gara, the RDB CEO.
Among the notable achievements, he said, had been 26 percent growth in the population of gorillas since the last census in 2003 and a steady growth of tourists, bringing in over US$200 million in revenues, while poachers have been converted into farmers.
This year’s ceremony will be graced by notable figures in the world of politics, showbiz, conservation and animal enthusiasts whose names have been closely guarded by RDB.
22 baby gorillas will be named.