Rwanda is considering extending the natural habitat for the rare mountain gorillas to handle their rapid population growth. This year on 1st September 2017, Rwanda hosted the 13th Kwita Izina, (gorilla naming ceremony) where a total of 19 new baby gorillas were named inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming babies soon after they are born. These are an addition to the existing 400 rare species in the country.
In the 12 years since the event was established, 216 mountain gorilla babies have been named in a celebration of nature together with the communities who protect the majestic mountain gorillas. Launched in 2005, Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, is not only a celebration of newly born mountain gorilla babies, but also serves to raise awareness of the importance of the protection of species and their habitats at community, national, regional and international levels. Last year’s Kwita Izina saw almost 500 international and 20,000 local attendees.
Eugene Mutangana, the head of conservation at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said that the growing gorilla population is a step forward. “We are currently thinking of either purchasing or renting land from citizens to expand the gorilla habitant. This process may take four to six years,” Mutangana said.
It is expected that gorilla populations will reach over 540 by the next population census which is expected to be finalized this year. Mountain gorillas make up to 90% of government revenues from national parks.