Brussels 24.09.2021 Today is World Gorilla Day Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual gorilla naming ceremony will take place. Kwita Izina, an initiative of the Rwandan government, is an exciting time for Fossey Fund staff and our devoted followers, who are going to celebrate the baby mountain gorillas born to the gorilla families of Volcanoes National Park.
At this year’s celebration, 24 baby gorillas will be named — including nine baby gorillas born into families that are protected and monitored by the Fossey Fund.
Who names these babies? Each year the Rwanda Development Board selects honored guests to choose the names. During last year’s naming ceremony, which was help virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the 24 baby gorillas were named by trackers, rangers and other frontline conservationists, with a few named by members of England’s Arsenal football club. This year’s honorees have not yet been announced.
“As the world battles the devastating effects of COVID-19, I would like to draw attention on this important day, and to reflect on how the pandemic has affected gorillas with whom we share 98.4% of our DNA. All four gorilla subspecies are endangered or critically endangered; their survival threatened by human activities and intensive agriculture that lead to habitat loss, poaching, bushmeat trade and disease. These include mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas found in east and central Africa and western lowland and cross river gorillas found in central and west Africa” writes Philip Lymbery the Chair of the President of Eurogroup for Animals.
However the poaching remains a threat, and to reduce it, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) also works closely with coffee farmers who we support to help maintain a steady market and fair price. By training farmers to grow coffee using sustainable agricultural methods, which results in a greater yield and a higher quality of coffee this target can be achieved.
The conservation Fund offers above market prices for their premium and specialty coffee, which is sold to tourists and conscious consumers who wish to support gorillas and purchase ethical, sustainable quality products. During this pandemic, international sales of coffee have enabled Bwindi farmers to earn a living in the absence of tourism, helping to mitigate the threats to mountain gorillas.