Rwanda names baby Mountain Gorillas

MUSANZE, Rwanda, Sept. 4 — Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on
Friday held the gorilla naming ceremony at Kinigi in Musanze District,
northern Rwanda.

This year marks the 13th edition of the annual flagship event, locally
known as Kwita Izina, in Rwanda’s conservation that brings together
conservation enthusiasts from all over the world to celebrate the central
African country’s success in protecting the endangered species. The event
attracted thousands including international celebrities, conservationists,
and notable icons from Africa and beyond. About 19 baby gorillas born late
last year and this year were given names at the event. Speaking to
thousands at the foothills of the Volcano mountains in northern Rwanda,
Belise Kaliza, chief tourism officer at RDB recognized 50 tour operators
who joined the country to celebrate the event. She said that the annual
event has been a success because it has promoted Rwanda’s tourism
prospects. “It is an important ceremony because it promotes our country’s
conservation efforts and boosts the growth of tourism industry,” she said.

Statistics from RDB shows that gorillas contribute about 90 percent of the
revenues from Rwandan national parks. Rwanda’s tourism registered revenues
worth 304.9 million dollars in 2014 with a total number of about 1.22
million visitors in the same year, according to RDB. Kaliza said the baby
gorilla naming ceremony has positively impacted the growth of gorillas and
transformed the social and economic well-being of the communities
surrounding the park. “The tourism improved the livelihood of the
community living around the area and the entire country,” she said. Rwandan
President Paul Kagame at the event reminded Rwandan community on protecting
and conserving the ecosystems. “We should guard and protect the ecosystems
thus it is within Rwanda’s interests considering that the income help
Rwanda move forward,” Kagame told the participants.

Since the introduction of the ceremony, the gorilla population has grown by
26.3 percent, according to RDB. “Let us preserve, protect ourselves and
the biodiversity, and promote tourism notably the community living in the
proximity of the Volcanoes National Park,” said the president. Gorilla
tourism remains the backbone of Rwanda’s tourism and conservation industry.
Since the initial launch of Kwita Izina in 2005, a total of 239 mountain
baby gorillas adding 19 named on Friday have been named, according to RDB. – XINHUA