VIRUNGA HEARTLAND--The African Wildlife Foundation joins Rwanda in celebrating the 14 baby gorillas named at Kwita Izina, Rwanda's annual festival held in honor of the country's highly endangered mountain gorilla population.
Now in its sixth year, this year's Kwita Izina attracted visitors from Japan, China, and the United States, including The Under Secretary and Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner and Hollywood film star Don Cheadle. Along with the naming ceremony, Rwanda hosted World Environment Day, established by UNEP in 1972 and celebrated each year on June 5. A leader in conservation efforts in Africa, Rwanda was a fitting host for the 2010 celebration, themed "Many Species, One Planet, One Future."
"We have dedicated almost 10 percent of our territory to the conservation of our biodiversity and we continue to sensitize our people so that they understand that, indeed, we have one future as far as this planet is concerned," said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who presided over the festival and related events. "We believe that protecting the environment entails, among other things, empowering communities so that they change their attitudes and find alternative livelihoods that can promote sustainable and equitable development."
Rwanda is home to about one-third of the estimated 700 mountain gorillas remaining in the wild. Considered a national treasure, Rwanda's mountain gorillas are at the heart of a conservation model that benefits people and are a main driver of Rwanda's tourism sector.
AWF has been a leader in mountain gorilla conservation for more than three decades, today conducting that work through the International Gorilla Conservation Program (a coalition of AWF, the World Wildlife Fund, and Fauna & Flora International).
Visit the official Kwita Izina website.
Read more about this year's Kwita Izina on allafrica.com.
Support the African Wildlife Foundation's mountain gorilla conservation work.
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