11 July 2018

Rwanda: Kwita Izina 2018 to Highlight Rwanda's Mountain Gorilla Conservation Gains

Twenty three infant mountain gorillas will be named at the 14th baby gorilla naming ceremony, Kwita Izina, which will take place on September 7, 2018 on the foothills of the Volcanoes Mountains in Musanze District.

Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla. The theme of this year's event is 'Conservation is Life'.

Revealing the Kwita Izina activity roadmap for 2018, Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said;

"The increasing number of mountain gorilla in the Volcanoes National Park is proof of the strides that we have made in gorilla conservation. This could have not happened without the support and collaboration of our conservation partners as well as the cooperation of the members of the community surrounding the park. Initiatives such as the 'Kwita Izina' gorilla naming ceremony, transboundary cooperation and local community education and engagement have all played a major role in conserving gorillas".

As part of the Revenue Share Programme, community projects in Kitabi Sector, Nyamagabe District and Ndego Sector, Kayonza District will be launched on 27, July and 5, September respectively. These include houses built for Kitabi sector residents who had formerly lived in the Nyungwe National Park buffer-zone as well as a mobile clinic, solar lighting systems and solar water pumps that will be handed over to residents of Ndego sector. The government, through the Rwanda Development Board, has spent over $USD 1.28 million of tourism revenues to more than 158 community-based projects.

On the 4th and 5th September 2018, the 'Conversation on Conservation' (CoC) forum will take place alongside an exhibition focused on conservation trends and practices.

As a result of conservation efforts such as Kwita Izina, the population of the endangered mountain gorilla has increased to 604 in 2016 in the Virunga Massif compared to 480 in 2010.

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