Twenty gorillas baptized
Thousands including government officials, diplomats and foreign dignitaries and tourism operators from Rwanda and neighboring countries converged at Kwiti Izina in Musanze district on Saturday to witness the naming of 19 baby gorillas and 1 adult.
The 8th edition of the annual gorilla naming ceremony at the base of Virunga Mountains was presided over Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi who kicked off the event by naming one baby gorilla Gikundiro, “the beautiful one.”
The Chairman of East Africa Tourism Platform, Richard Rugimbana and other guests named the rest of the gorillas that included a pair of twins, Impeta and Umudende. Performers, Kidumu, Tom close and Close and Rafiki entertained the guests at the Kwiti Izina event.
“Kwiti Izina remains a very important occasion on the national calendar and it exhibits Rwanda’s commitment towards conservation of the most treasured animal. I would also like to acknowledge regional efforts and collaboration in the protection and conservation of Gorillas” Premier Habumuremyi remarked.
He also urged communities around Volcanoes National Park to appreciate the importance of the gorillas and their contribution towards their livelihood.
“This year’s celebrations comes at a critical time when the degradation of the ecosystems has reached alarming proportions in many parts of the world,” said Rwanda Development Board CEO, John Gara.
Last year, Rwanda earned US$ 252 million from tourism. “National parks contribute 90% of tourism earnings and Volcanoes National Park is the biggest earner mainly because of gorillas” said Rica Rwigamba, the head of the tourism department at RDB.