be_ixf;ym_201908 d_24; ct_300
  • Spread the word

Kwita Izina: 6 facts you need to know about the gorilla naming

Image of an infant mountain gorilla surrounded by leaves

At the base of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, infant mountain gorillas were celebrated during the Kwita Izina naming ceremony.

Here’s what you need to know about the ceremony and the iconic mountain gorilla:

  • 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.
  • At this year’s ceremony 19 infant mountain gorillas will be named, as well as one newly formed family.
  • About 239 mountain gorillas have been named over the course of the Kwita Izina ceremonies.
  • 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.
  • Mountain gorillas generate significant tourism revenue, providing direct economic benefits to communities. In 2016, Rwanda generated about US $400 million in tourism revenue — the majority of which was from tourists visiting the country's mountain gorillas.
  • In 2008 former AWF CEO Patrick Bergin had the high honor of naming a gorilla. He called her Sacola.


> Find out more about the critically endangered mountain gorilla

About the Author

Gayane is AWF's Digital and Partner Marketing Manager. She oversees digital fundraising, advocacy, social media marketing, and affiliate relationships. Gayane is passionate about communicating the message of conservation through new tools and technologies and converting audiences into wildlife advocates. She is a graduate of the University of Florida, holding degrees in public relations and political science.

  • Spread the word
Image of a baby elephant in the African savanna.
Ask CITES: Protect threatened wildlife

The fate of some of Africa's most threatened species is being decided at CITES, Aug 17-28. Add your name to protect them.

> Add your name



AWF Blogs bring you to the critical landscapes we work in, where conservation benefits both wildlife and people alike. The blogs are written by our staff - men and women who have dedicated their lives to Africa's wildlife, people and wild lands.

Make a gift to protect Africa's most vulnerable species.