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Kwita Izina is a time-honored tradition in which Rwanda Goverment holdS a National ceremony to name newborn Gorilla babies. For three decades, prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the Park Rangers and Researchers named Rwanda’s baby gorillas as a key part of the on-going program in monitoring each individual gorilla in their family and habitat.


Kwita Izina is inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming a baby soon after its birth.During this ceremony, infant mountain gorillas that were born in Rwanda during the previous year receive their names.

There are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world. This critically endangered species is found only in three countries, spanning four national parks. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. 

About 239 mountain gorillas have been named over the course of the Kwita Izina ceremonies.

As one of the great apes, mountain gorillas are the largest of the living primates. They have muscular arms, a massive chest, and broad hands and feet. Their thick black hair helps insulate them from cold weather.

The silverback protects what matters most.
Mountain gorillas live in groups of two to 40 led by the silverback, a dominant male that is the chief leader and protector. Almost 10 times stronger than the biggest American football players, a silverback protects its group from attacks by humans, leopards, or other gorillas—even if it means sacrificing his own life.

Mountain gorilla infants develop twice as fast as humans.
The female mountain gorilla usually gives birth when she turns 10 and has offspring every four or more years. Newborns are weak and weigh only about 4 pounds. Their first movements are awkward, like a human infant, but they develop almost twice as fast. Infants nurse and are gradually weaned after they turn 3 years old, when they are more independent.

Mountain gorillas are primarily herbivores.
Even though they eat like football players, their diet is made up of more than 100 different species of plants. And, they rarely need to drink since they get most of their water from those plants.