Monday, June 27, 2005

Rwandans Name 30 Rare Gorilla Babies

Kampanga, a female adult mountain gorilla, with her 6 month old baby Thursday, June 23,who she has already named 'eats his own poop'.

Rwanda's president joined villagers and conservation workers on the edges this national park Saturday to name 30 rare mountain gorilla babies, in what the country hopes will be an annual ceremony for one of its biggest tourist attractions.

Among those named Saturday were the only recorded set of twins to survive to the age of 1.

Conservation workers and researchers traditionally name primates they track after identifying each one based on the patterns formed by wrinkles on their faces.

But on Saturday, members of the public were invited to propose names for the gorillas. More than 20,000 visit the central African nation each year, and the gorillas are the main draw.

President Paul Kagame and his wife named the twins Byishimo, meaning happiness, and Impano, or gift. They were born in May 2004.

Children from villages around the park proposed several names for each of the mountain gorilla infants, and an official chose one.

The names included Kunga, or peacemaker; Izuba, or sun; Isoni, or shy; Ubufatanye, or cooperation; Kubana, or living together; Icyerekezo, or vision; Inkurwa, or loved; and Itsinzi or victory.

"The naming ceremony reflects our culture. We do it in families in Rwanda when we name new babies," said Fidelle Ruzigandekwa, head of the Rwanda Wildlife Agency.

Story here.

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