Honoured to name baby gorilla at Rwandan Kwita Izina Ceremony

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Wilderness Nick Stone at Kwita Izina 2023

In recognition of Wilderness’ continued commitment to growing conservation tourism in Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) invited Wilderness Lead Director and Board member, Nick Stone, to name a baby gorilla at the annual Kwita Izina ceremony on 1 September.


"It is with deep honour that we were chosen to name a female baby gorilla from the Musirikari Family, born on the 14th of May 2023 to mother Muntu. The name for this baby girl is Umucunguzi, which means ‘Redeemer’. She is the hope and redemption of her mother's bloodline, after her mother unfortunately lost all of her other babies", shared Nick.

Kwita Izina is modelled on a centuries-old tradition in which Rwandans name their children in the presence of family and friends. In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become a global celebration of nature and the country’s commitment to sustainable tourism.



“By giving a name to these majestic animals, Rwanda imbues them with a value they unquestionably deserve. It was both humbling and inspiring to join other high-profile conservationists, guests and dignitaries from all over the world to mark this year’s ceremony, and to continue to highlight the importance of gorilla conservation in Volcanoes National Park and beyond”, he added.  


The ceremony is also an opportunity to thank the communities that live around the Park, research partners, vets and the dedicated conservationists, rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas. Over the last 18 years, 374 mountain gorillas have been named and during this 2023 Kwita Izina – its nineteenth edition – an additional 23 baby gorillas received their names.



"Every day, our amazing Wilderness teams have the privilege of seeing our Bisate and Sabyinyo guests come back from tracking gorillas, profoundly moved after interacting with these iconic animals. Rwanda truly does set the standard for conservation in Africa, and we are proud to expand on this impactful work together with the Rwandan Government and other stakeholders”, Nick concluded.

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