Rwanda to 'Baptize' 22 Baby Mountain Gorillas

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By AFP News    May 24, 2011 at 04:54PM

KIGALI - Twenty-two baby mountain gorillas will be "baptized" in a name-giving ceremony next month in Rwanda's Volcans National Park, an official said Saturday.

Conservation and tourism director Rica Rwigamba said the ceremony, which will be held on June 18, will give names to twins born in February, a rare occurrence for an endangered species which counts fewer than 800 individuals.

Mountain gorillas are Rwanda's main tourist attraction and accounted for 90 percent of tourism revenue in 2010.

"Like every year, renowned personalities will be part of the ceremony," Rwigamba said.

According to a 2010 census, the total number of mountain gorillas has increased by a quarter over the past seven years to reach more than 780 individuals.

Two thirds of them are found in the Virunga massif, which straddles Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda has recorded only five twin mountain gorilla births over the past 40 years.

Source: AFP