Rwandan premier 'baptizes' 22 gorillas
2 sets of twins gorillas have been born in Rwanda, a very rare event.
Sat, Jun 18, 2011 at 10:49 AM
Photo: Getty Images
KIGALI — Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Makuza led a traditional ceremony on Saturday to "baptize" 22 gorilla babies, a ceremony introduced six years ago for the endangered species.
At the colorful name-giving event at Kinigi, on the edge of Volcanoes Natural Park just outside their natural habitat, children dressed as gorillas to represent the animals.
The park on the border between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to half of the world's 700 mountain gorillas. They were brought to the attention of the outside world by the renowned U.S. primatologist, the late Dian Fossey.
At the ceremony broadcast live on radio and television, Makuza gave one of two gorilla twins born in February the Rwandan name Ijambo, literally "the word."
"I name him Ijambo because what we do, the progress we make, enables us to speak in the concert of nations," Makuza said.
The birth of the twins was a rare occurrence for the endangered species whose numbers have dwindled over the decades.
Twins were also born in May, only the seventh time in the last 40 years that a gorilla has given birth to twins.
The latest two will be named at next year's ceremony.
Copyright 2011 AFP Global Edition