Kwita Izina Mountain Gorilla Naming Ceremony
Kwita Izina Mountain Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda is an annual ceremony done by the country to celebrate nature and the endangered mountain gorillas. The ceremony that is called the Kwita Izina is shaped by the Rwandan tradition of families in the olden days naming their children in the company of friends and relatives.
The Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremonies for the mountain gorillas were started in 2005 as an initiative to promote the conservation efforts for the mountain gorillas whose numbers by then were really low. The ceremonies that have since become a global commemoration of primates, wildlife, nature and tourism are used to officially name mountain gorillas that are born within a year or discovered within that year. The official naming of these mountain gorillas is an avenue that gives them the worth that they duly need for their conservation.
The Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremonies are used as platforms for very many things concerning mountain gorillas and tourism in Rwanda and among these many things are the following:-
- Introducing new mountain gorillas to the public
- Highlighting what Rwanda is doing to protect and conserve mountain gorillas.
- Giving an update on the mountain gorilla conservation works that are going on in the country and Volcanoes National Park
- Promoting mountain gorilla trekking
- Thanking the communities that live around Volcanoes National Park for their continued support towards the mountain gorilla conservation programs
- Thanking all the other stakeholders that contribute towards the success of the mountain gorilla conservation programs. These stakeholders include research partners, primatologists, conservationists, the different park teams including the rangers and trackers among others.
Through the Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremonies, it’s estimated that over 300 mountain gorillas over the past 15 years in the company of various wildlife players, international dignitaries, and celebrities; the list is long but notable figures in the recent years include Arsenal team players like Hector Bellerin, Bernd Leno, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, singer Neyo, Super Model Naomi Campbell and many others.
The Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremonies are usually held in September to coincide with the World Gorilla day and the 2020 Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremony was held exactly in the 24th of September which is the World Gorilla Day. Though the previous ceremonies have been in person ceremonies the 2020 ceremony was a virtual ceremony because of the prevailing COVID19 pandemic situation that has made it quite difficult to have large numbers of people in the same location at a time; for fear of persons transmitting the deadly virus to each other.
For 2021, depending on the situation the Kwita Izina mountain gorilla naming ceremony will still be held on the world gorilla day though its not yet known whether it will be a virtual or in person event.
The World Gorilla Day is a day that is used to promote mountain gorilla conservation programs and rally people to come around these programs and support them for the conservation of mountain gorillas.
The world gorilla day commemorates the day Dian Fossey, a famous mountain gorilla scholar and conservationist established Karisoke Research Centre to support mountain gorilla studies that would later inform conservation strategies for these animals. The Karisoke Research centre was launched in 1967 in Rwanda.
The most pronounced mountain gorilla conservation program is mountain gorilla trekking which is biggest revenue avenue for other conversation activities. Mountain gorilla trekking is an activity where you take a journey through the mountain gorilla habitat which is a mountainous forest for a chance to spend an hour with the mountain gorillas.
Mountain gorilla trekking is done all through the year in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park at a fee of 1500 USD per permit per a trek. The mountain gorilla trekking experience takes almost most of your day so when you are going to trek you should put that in mine. It starts at 7am with a briefing at the park offices and then you head into the forest trekking deep into the forest to find the gorillas and when you find the gorillas you spend an hour with them before you trek back to the park offices; this whole experience takes about 4 to 6 hours or more depending on the state of trekking terrains and how deep the mountain gorillas are.