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Here’s A Great Way To Protect Baby Gorillas: Throw Them A Party And Name Them
June 21, 2013
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(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

Every year on June 22, Rwanda holds its annual Festival of the Gorillas, aka Kwita Izina. It's basically a big party where newborn baby gorillas get their own names.

The event is based on Rwandan tradition, in which a celebration is thrown whenever a baby is born.

In 2003, the country decided to extend the same idea to baby gorillas, in the hope that giving them names would raise awareness of the gorillas' endangerment.

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

It seems to be working: since the first celebration, 161 gorillas have been named, and the government says its gorilla population has risen by 26 per cent, Take Part reports.

The ceremony is extremely popular - each year on June 22, tens of thousands of people turn out to pay tribute to the baby gorillas and watch them receive their new names.

This year, 12 gorillas are being celebrated at Kinigi, just outside the country's Volcanoes National Park.

The people who get the honour of naming the gorillas get a choice of two or three names, suggested by the park rangers and wardens who have cared for the gorilla groups.

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

Names are generally chosen based on the circumstances of a gorilla's birth, and tend to include a reference to where it was born or how the group was feeling at the time.

Although the actual naming ceremony takes place tomorrow, Kwita Izina has grown into a week-long celebration over the years, with conferences and workshops about conservation, along with "sporting and society events," according to the event's website.

There will also be a concert on Saturday, featuring soca star Kevin Lyttle, who hasn't played in Africa since 2007, alongside Tanzanian musician Ali Kiba and local artists.

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

If you'd like to follow the goings on at Kwita Izina, you can check out the official Twitter account, or visit the Kwita Izina website. And you can see even more pictures on their photos page.

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

(Photo: Rwanda Development Board)

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