Rwanda has come up with efforts to preserve the critically endangered mountain gorillas in a move to tap the tourism revenues attached on conservation.
Due to this the country is set to offer names to 22 baby mountain gorillas among whom are a set of twins, born in 2015. This will be at function held annually code-named Kwita Izina.
Kwita Izina is scheduled for 2nd September 2016 and will be the 12th of its kind in Rwanda. Thousands of guests including tourists are expected to grace and witness the annual ceremonial ritual on the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park in Musanze District, Northern Province.
This Park is the home for Mountain gorillas in Rwanda and is visited by hundreds of gorilla tourists every year.
Speaking to the press recently, the Chief Tourism Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Belise Kaliza, said this event continues to highlight the country’s tourism potential to the whole word in all avenues to recognize and protect the mountain gorillas.
“From the time we started the Kwita Izina (baby gorilla naming ceremony) years back, we’ve witnessed an upsurge in the population of the gorillas year after year. This has impacted positively to the growth of gorillas, at the same time transforming the economic and social welfare of the populations adjacent to the park plus boosting tourism in the entire country,” Kaliza said.
She further emphasized that the event offers tremendous opportunities in recognizing efforts by individuals, organizations and countries involved in the gorilla conservation.
Sources from Rwanda Development Board, the official and main organizers of the ceremony, global celebrities, environmentalists and distinguished icons are anticipated to be present to the ceremony.
According to RDB, the Kwita Izina of 2015 was attended by over 500 international guests plus around 20 000 locals. Since its inception 12 years ago, the ceremony has rated very prominently on the tourism calendar of the country whereby even the gorilla population has risen by 26.3 percent over the years.
Earnings from Mountain Gorilla Tourism in Rwanda contribute to about 90 percent of the total revenues from all the national parks in the country. Kwita Izina is derived from the ancient Rwandan practice of naming new-born babies shortly after birth.
The names that are accredited to the gorillas perform a momentous role in the recurrent programme of watching each individual gorilla in their respective families and habitation. In a related incident, RDB has also organized a sequence of events geared towards tourism conservation.
These events comprise of the naming ceremony, fairs, communal project launches as well as fundraising dinner. At present, the general census of Mountain Gorilla population in the Virunga Massif is underway with results being expected to be released in 2017. According to the 2010 figures, the gorilla population was at 480, manifesting a 26.3 percent growth up from 380 in 2003.