Kwita Izina to go virtual as local frontliners name gorillas

Kwita Izina to go virtual as local frontliners name gorillas

Local front liners involved in the wellbeing of gorillas on a day to day basis will this year be given the opportunity to name baby gorillas on the 16th Kwita Izina ceremony this year, the Chief Tourism Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Belise Kariza, has said.

Kariza said this on Friday, September 4 while addressing the media during a virtual briefing on this year’s Kwita Izina at a time when the world is grappling with Covid-19.

The Kwita Izina ceremony is scheduled for September 24.

Kariza said that this year’s Kwita Izina is unique because not only is it the first time it will be done virtually, the naming will be done by local conservation front liners including veterinary doctors, guides, wardens, trackers and others who are all credited for their day to day involvement in the well-being of the gorillas.

“These are the people who dedicate their time to ensuring that the gorillas are safe and healthy. This date is also special because it coincides with the World Gorilla Day and also the day conservation enthusiast Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Centre back in 1967,” she explained.

Kariza explained that the challenges that came with the outbreak of Covid-19 did not affect the country’s resolve to continue its work to promote tourism.

“The challenges did not keep us down. We started thinking forward. We are constantly ensuring that everything is in order. We are regularly testing staff in parks and the people who live around to ensure safety,” she said.

The Governor of Northern Province, Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, who has hosted the Kwita Izina ceremony since 2017 in Kinigi said that although the pandemic has robbed them of the opportunity this year, the benefits that this ceremony has brought people in his area will be celebrated.

“We won’t have the prominent dignitaries gracing our province this year but we are still thankful that this ceremony has over the years reminded us the value of conservation,” he said.

The Gorilla Kwita Izina tradition was first introduced in 2005 to highlight the importance of the conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas and recognize the role of those who have dedicated their work to conserve them.