After realizing the extent to which the rare species of the mountain gorillas were endangered within the Virunga forests, the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National parks (ORTPN) devised a conservation brand known in local Kinyrwanda as ‘Kwita Izina’ conceptualized after the local traditional ceremony for newly born babies to be used to adopt baby gorillas.
Subsequently the Gorilla naming ceremony being in existence since 2005 , is now a unique global event which draws in the world’s conversationists and a host of other personalities to Rwanda every year.
The mountain Gorillas share 98% of their characteristics with human beings. About a third of the world’s total mountain gorilla’s population live in Rwanda.
ORTPN and indeed the entire Rwandan community found it pertinent to extend the much cherished secular Rwandan tradition of naming every new born baby to the gorillas for the express purpose of fostering a closeness and hence conversation between those living around the gorilla nests with the engendered gorillas.
‘Kwita Izina’, is thus a conscious effort to not only raise awareness of the gorilla conservation in Rwanda, but also to market Rwanda as an excellent tourist destination.
This is due to the fact that some of the world’s leading personalities have participated in the event. This year’s gorilla naming ceremony attracted over 150 local and international conservationists.
‘Kwita Izina’ has a unique symbiosis with the communities living around the gorilla nests. ORTPN unveiled several community based facilities for communities in different districts using revenues obtained from gorilla tourism.
Rwanda is home to a third of the 750 mountain gorillas left in the world.