September 2016 – In recognition of the company’s investment into Rwanda, Wilderness Safaris CEO, Keith Vincent, was honoured to be invited by the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) to name a baby gorilla at the annual Kwita Izina – a traditional baby naming custom in Rwanda which has now been extended to gorillas.
The annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony was held in Kinigi next to the Volcanoes National Park today, 2 September 2016. A total of 22 mountain gorilla babies received their official names from a range of dignitaries such as Sir David Attenborough, who were invited to be esteemed ‘Namers’ for their valuable contribution to Rwanda’s conservation successes. The gorilla named by Keith Vincent was a young female born on 10 April 2016 to mother Kurinda in the Giraneza Group. She was named ‘Nyampinga’ which means ‘the most beautiful girl’ in Kinyarwanda.
“It was an honour to give Nyampinga such a beautiful name and to join other dignitaries in this significant tradition that highlights the importance of this magnificent species and the overall issues facing gorilla conservation. Wilderness Safaris is extremely proud to be working so closely with such like-minded partners to ensure the long-term conservation of mountain gorillas, and we are looking forward to opening our new Bisate Lodge in the region in mid-2017”, says Keith Vincent.
Wilderness Safaris was also proud to donate two safari prizes to the value of USD12 000 that were auctioned at the Kwita Izina Fundraising Gala Dinner held in Kigali on 26 August – an event held to officially open the week-long events held around Kwita Izina to celebrate Rwanda’s outstanding conservation efforts. The monies raised from these two lots will be allocated to the Gorilla Skeletal Project in Musanze to assist the Rwanda National Parks authorities in the recovery and curation of skeletal remains of deceased mountain gorillas from Volcanoes National Park.
Together with local partners Thousand Hills Expeditions, Wilderness Safaris Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Roche, took part in the various events of the 12th Kwita Izina, which also included a conservation and tourism exhibition and the informative ‘Conversation on Conservation’ – a two-day think tank involving government, NGOs and private sector held in Kigali. The panel discussions and debate focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and the mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation in Rwanda. Representatives of Rwanda and Ugandan governments including the Rwandan Prime Minister, the Minister of Environment and Tourism from Uganda, and the EU ambassador to Rwanda were in attendance together with the RDB. NGOs included Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, Wildlife Direct and others.
According to Chris, “It was a privilege to be part of such a well-organised and important event that brought together a wide range of stakeholders; all with the shared vision of biodiversity conservation in a modern world”.
Click here to view a short video clip of Nyampinga with her mother Kurinda.For more information on Kwita Izina, click here.