Rwanda set to name new-born gorillas in 15th Kwita Izina ceremony

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Kwita Izina is an annual ceremony in which the newest additions to Rwanda’s gorilla family are given names. [Image courtesy Kwita Izina]
Rwanda’s baby gorilla naming ceremony, commonly known as Kwita Izina is scheduled to take place on 6 September in Musanze district, with some world renowned named expected to be in attendance.

According to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), some of the visitors that will headline the 2019 Kwita Izina include RnB singer Ne-Yo, former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, former Arsenal FC captain Tony Adams and British supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The 2019 event will be the 15th naming ceremony held by the East African country for the endangered species.

Kwita Izina is an annual ceremony in which the newest additions to Rwanda’s gorilla family are given names.

At least 25 baby gorillas born between end 2018 and September 2019 will be given names in the ceremony on 6 September.

Ahead of the ceremony, RDB announced that the country had sold 15,132 mountain gorilla permits worth $19.2 million to tourists in 2018, representing an increase on revenue collected from the project in previous years.

The increase in revenue obtained from the gorilla project has been attributed to the increase in permit prices. The Rwandan government hiked the permit prices from $750 to $1,500 in 2017 in a bid to position the country as a high-end tourism destination and promote conservation.

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species whose estimated number stands at a little over 1,000 worldwide. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Rwandan government introduced Kwita Izina in 2005 to help create awareness on the need to conserve the endangered mountain gorilla.

(Additional information from Xinhua News Agency)

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