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Volcanoes Safaris team was honoured to participate to the 2018 Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda, held on 7th September at the Volcanoes National Park headquarters in Kiningi.
The birth of 18 newborn gorilla babies was celebrated on the day and each baby was also give a name, for easier identification in their respective families. The different babies' names are chosen based on each baby gorilla's birth location, story and the circumstances.
Praveen Moman, Founder Volcanoes Safaris and pioneer of sensitive and controlled gorilla tourism, was delighted to spoke at the event on behalf of Volcanoes Safaris and the private sector and urged on the need to have sensitive and controlled tourism to safeguard the gorillas, changing the paradigm to focus on communities and looking after them. "Make communities guardians of their lands, they will help us do more conservation and tourism and habitat preservation will help look after the threatened species and Earth, as they have done for thousands of years, living in harmony with their ecosystem." said Moman.
"Today we see Rwanda transformed, a country determined to rebuild, to excel in conservation and tourism. We should recognise the huge efforts by the government of Rwanda, and all partners and the work of the DRC and Uganda for their work in safeguarding gorillas.".
Praveen also added that the spirit of Kwita Izina, which brought together thousands of people on the day, "is much more than recognising the new borns in an African Village. The spirit of Kwitizina is a living breathing way of connecting the gorillas, the beautiful forests, needs of communities, the joy of seeing gorillas in the wild, the private sector, conservation organisations to the region and the world. All of us in this room symbolise these connections. With these connections working in synergy we all achieve the goals of supporting gorillas, habitat and communities."
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.