This event is a welcome tradition for local Rwandese, since it highlights one of Rwanda’s main tourist attractions, while educating the public about mountain gorilla conservation as well as protecting the environment in which they thrive.
This year’s ceremony was the central event of a new annual exhibition highlighting different projects that promote a green economy in the region. Exhibitors displayed systems that involve clean and efficient energy technology and participants could learn more about these environmental initiatives straight from the suppliers. Kidum, a Kenyan-based, Burundian singer as well as a popular Rwandese group, Inganzo Ngari, graced the stage to entertain participants.
The names chosen for the 17 baby gorillas, and their English translations, as explained by the Rwanda Development Board, are as follows:
- ITABAZA : Can be translated into English as “light.” As important as light is to any type of natural growth and well-being, the mountain gorillas act as a flag species in the tourism industry of Rwanda.
- UMUDENDE : Meaning “an award of high value.” Selected to highlight that Susa deserves a valuable award for producing two sets of surviving gorilla twins. Impeta is Umudende’s twin sibling.
- IMPETA : Means “a medal.” Trackers selected this name to signify that the Susa group should be awarded a medal thanks to their status as a well-established, habituated group.
- ICYEZA : Meaning “extreme beauty.” Refers to the fact that the beauty of the gorillas attracts tourists to the region.
- TURERE: Means “take care of baby,” referring to the mother’s caretaking efforts.
- UMUTUNGO: Means “fortune.” Mountain gorillas bring good fortune to Rwanda in terms of biodiversity, conservation and tourism.
- DUHIRWE: Means “let us be lucky.” This name was selected to wish good luck to the infant for the future.
- TURIMBERE: The name can be translated to “we’re ahead.” The name was proposed by trackers foreseeing future protection of the mountain gorillas and their habitat.
- IHOHO: Means “something with incomparable beauty.” This name represents how gorillas are seen in Rwanda.
- KUNGAHARA: Means ‘’be prosperous.” This name is both a wish to the baby and its country for a prosperous future.
- KATAZA: Means “to be fast.” The Kwitonda family this baby was born into is growing quickly with a good reproductive rate.
- ISHIMWE: Means “gratitude.” The name demonstrates the Rwandese’s gratitude that the mountain gorillas are plentiful in the region.
- AKARABO: This name means “flower,” and was chosen because the mountain gorillas are like a special gift given to Rwanda.
- GIKUNDIRO: Means “likeable/sympathetic.” This baby was so-named because its Hirwa family is highly appreciated by trackers for its peaceful behavior.
- IWACU: Means “our home.” This name was chosen as a tribute to the safe home of the mountain gorillas within Rwanda.
- AMATWARA: The name can be translated as ‘’strategies.” This infant was so-named in recognition of the many strategies involved in mountain gorilla conservation
- IJABO: Means ‘’dignity.’’ The name demonstrates that Rwanda as a country is proud of being known as the home of mountain gorillas and their conservation.
In the Kwita Izina of 2009, Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board Rosette Rugamba stated, “The birth of every baby gorilla is an important step towards achieving the vision to ensure that mountain gorillas are no longer an endangered species but the world's best protected animals in their wild and natural surroundings.” Three years later we are celebrating the achievement of this vision through this festive celebration of tourism and conservation working together hand-in-hand.
Every gorilla permit purchased while on safari contributes toward the protection of the area’s national parks and also benefits the surrounding communities. A trip with Volcanoes further contributes to this vision, as we donate $100 from the profits of each safari to The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, which undertakes conservation and livelihood projects in the local communities near each of our eco-lodges. Get in touch with our sales team to find out more about how to join us on safari and contribute to the conservation of great apes in the wild!