(Xinhua) — At least 23 baby mountain gorillas born in the last 12 months will be named during this year’s naming ceremony scheduled for next month in Rwanda, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has announced.
The annual ceremony, locally known as Kwita Izina, will take place on the foothills of Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi, Musanze district, in northern Rwanda on Sept. 1.
RDB chief executive officer Clare Akamanzi said the ceremony reflects celebration of the gains made in the country’s tourism and conservation efforts, notably the majestic mountain gorillas.
“Last year, Rwanda’s gorilla tourism was the best performing segment, and the trend shows that 2023 is expected to grow further and take us beyond recovery and towards our national targets,” she said in a statement Thursday.
“This means the communities are benefiting more, tourists getting enhanced experiences, and the gorilla populations are thriving thanks to all stakeholders who actively participate in their daily conservation.”
Officials say Rwanda’s conservation efforts have enabled the gorilla population to thrive and provide better trekking experiences to visitors.
Since the first naming ceremony in 2005 a total of 374 baby gorillas have been named.
Rwanda generated 247 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2023 from tourism, up 56 percent from the 158 million dollars posted for the same period last year, according to official data.
The naming ceremony will be preceded by a conversation conference and launch of community projects funded through a tourism revenue share program.
Under the program introduced by the government in 2005, some 10 percent of all park revenue is returned to the communities surrounding the various national parks.
Over the years, more than 10 billion Rwandan francs (about 9 million dollars) has been spent on more than 1,000 community-based projects around Akagera, Nyungwe, Volcanoes, and Gishwati-Mukura National Parks, according to RDB data.