“The baptism” of mountain gorillas in Rwanda

Kwita Izina is an annual ceremony of naming baby mountain gorillas born during the previous year. The 12th edition of this event took place in Kinigi on Friday 2nd September and 22 babies got new names 🙂 

The ceremony called Kwita Izina, during which a newborn baby receives a name, has been practised in Rwanda for centuries. In 2005 the government rebranded this ancient tradition and adapted it for the mountain gorillas to promote the efforts to protect them. Gorillas have been receiving names for at least 30 years but 12 years ago it became a popular event which attracts the attention of the media and both local and international communities. Rwanda is famous for its gorillas and no trip to this country is complete without visiting them in the Volcanoes or Virunga National Parks. Naming the animals helps the rangers and scientists monitor their population. This year Sir David Attenborough became one of the “godfathers”. His baby gorilla was born on 8th July 2015 and is called Inshungu, which means Replacement – here he is 🙂

02Mukecuru's baby@Pablo group (Custom)

One of my friends had the pleasure to attend the ceremony on Friday, and the account he has given has definitely encouraged me to try and attend Kwita Izina next year! Obviously, the gorillas themselves do not participate 🙂 But it’s simply a lovely event in which the local community takes part – this year two young Rwandans were nominated and they were apparently very nervous and excited about naming their baby gorillas 🙂 I would be too, if I were asked to “baptise” a cutie like this one! 🙂

18GUKINA's baby@Sabyinyo group (Custom)

You can check out more photos of little mountain gorillas here (the photos above come from this official Kwita Izina page), and the photos from the ceremony itself can be found here 🙂

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