The 2013 Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony has been heralded as the best yet, with representatives of the Gorilla Organization joining VIPs, politicians and thousands of local men, women and children in celebrating Rwanda's newest mountain gorillas.
This year – the ninth the event has been running – 12 baby gorillas, all of them born in the Volcanoes National Park since the beginning of June 2012, were given their names by dignitaries including the Japanese ambassador to Rwanda and the economist Jeffrey Sachs. Among those named were the latest arrival to the large Susa family, a male given the name Ubukerarugendo (meaning 'tourism') and a female born to Poppy in the Karisimbi family, with this new arrival named Inyungura (or 'addition' in the local language).
Watching the proceedings were Gorilla Organization Chairman Ian Redmond and Executive Director Jillian Miller. According to Jillian, the event was once again the perfect celebration of Rwanda's gorillas and the ways in which they are helping benefit the people living alongside the protected forest.
"It's always so encouraging to see hundreds, if not thousands, of people, turning up to celebrate the latest additions to Rwanda's growing mountain gorilla population," says Jillian. "Plus, this year's theme of 'celebrating nature, empowering communities', fits our philosophy perfectly; only by getting the local communities involved and making them leaders in conservation efforts can we make sure there will be many more gorilla babies to celebrate for years to come."
To learn more about the babies born in the Volcanoes National Park over the past 12 months and to find out their new names, visit the official Kwita Izina website.