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Kwita Izina… Protecting endangered Mountain Gorilla

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A scene from previous edition of Kwita Izina ceremony in Rwanda.

As part of activities to mark this year’s World Tourism Day, the Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi, Rwanda, will come alive on Friday, September 14, 2018, as locals, as well as tourist, will converge for the 14th edition of Kwita Izina ceremony.

Kwita Izina is a time-honored tradition in which Rwandan families hold a ceremony to name newborn baby Gorillas.

For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the Park Rangers and Researchers named Rwanda’s mountain gorilla babies as a key part of the ongoing programme in monitoring each individual gorilla in their family and habitat.

The Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board and in collaboration with conservation partners, private sector stakeholders and locals, has achieved remarkable success in protecting and growing the endangered Mountain Gorilla population and its habitat.

Rwanda’s naming ceremony tradition has been adapted as a celebration of the success in the national flagship event known as Kwita Izina, which was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating greater awareness of conservation effort and of thanking communities for their ongoing valuable support of these initiatives.

Now, the most important annual event in Rwanda’s calendar, it is attended by around thirty thousand community members and three thousand international, regional and local participants each year.

To date, 285 mountain gorilla babies have been named in the past 13 ceremonies, which is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism.

Alongside the naming ceremony, a weeklong celebration of activities are hosted, a conservation exhibition and the highly acclaimed Conservation on Conservation dialogue forum are hosted in Kigali, a fund raising dinner in Rubavu and hosted familiarization trips for international tour operators and media comprise an important part of the event, which is supported by RwandAir.

From its hub at the heart of Africa at Kigali International Airport, RwandAir is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety, and has one of the youngest fleet on the African continent.

RwandAir, an IATA member airline renewed its IOSA certification and has been ISAGO and EASA certified.


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