About Kwita Izina
Rwanda has enthusiastically received thousands of international, regional and local visitors to its Virunga mountain ranges to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. For decades, international conservation organizations, donors and concerned individuals have made substantial resources available to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so.
The remaining home range of the endangered mountain gorillas is limited to the Virunga Massif, a chain of volcanic mountains shared by Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. Rwanda boasts two third of the Virunga Massif’s remaining endangered mountain gorillas. The remaining population of mountain gorillas has only survived thanks to the renewed efforts of national conservation authorities and the local populations and the support they have received from the international community.
Despite turbulences in the region in the recent past, conservation partners have been active in the protection of this species and their habitat. For several decades now, Rwanda has been at the forefront of gorilla conservation efforts. The government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has put conservation high on its national agenda, not only for the protection of mountain gorillas and other keystone species, but also their habitats and ecosystems that provide life support to us all.
Notable achievement in Rwanda tourism are 26,3% growth in the population of gorillas since the last census in 2003, introduction of new tourism products such as the Congo Nile Trail, steady growth of tourists with USD 200 million in revenues in 2010, and estimated at 257 million in 2011 and conversion of poachers into farmers. The safety and security of the park and its surroundings is also a notable national achievement without which little of this would have been achieved. Another milestone in Rwanda’s tourism sector is the recent grading and classification of accommodation facilities using East African Standards.
As a means to conserve and protect the region where the mountain gorillas live, Rwanda Development Board -Tourism and Conservation launched the first ever public Gorilla Naming Ceremony in 2005 under the theme, “Ensuring the Future of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorillas”. Since then, RDB-Tourism and Conservation and its partners have successfully held six more ceremonies generating more funding for community projects and awareness of the importance of conservation.
On Saturday, June 22nd 2013, RDB will be hosting the ninth annual Kwita Izina – Gorilla Naming Ceremony. At this event, names will be given to 12 babies mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park. The theme for this year is “Celebrating nature, empowering communities”. Under this theme, we shall celebrate the efforts of all those that have contributed to the welfare of our wildlife and its conservation and ensure continuity of growth in population of the gorillas and tourists while mobilizing efforts towards a greener economy.