Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis, Wilderness Foundation Global and Stenden University South Africa, had the great honour of being a Gorilla Namer at this year’s Kwita Izina in Rwanda.
The annual Gorilla naming ceremony, which is organised by the Rwanda Development Board (RBD) and is popularly known as Kwita Izina, was held on Friday, September 7th, 2018 in Kinigi Sector, Musanze District.
This is the biggest event on the country's tourism calendar, and 23 baby gorillas were named for this year's event. Namers include Rwandan and international conservationists, sports personalities, renowned philanthropists and diplomats.
The list revealed by RDB, included former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique, Graca Machel, American-Senegalese singer, songwriter and businessman, Akon and former Arsenal and Cameroonian football star, Laureano Bisan Etamé-Mayer and Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis.
Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla.
Adrian has been involved in the development of conservation in Rwanda for the last 11 years. His work in Rwanda has involved him in the development of Gorilla’s Nest, Nyungwe House and, most recently, he has been appointed to relaunch and refurbish Akagera Game Lodge in Rwanda’s Akagera Game Reserve.
This is a project that is close to Mr Gardiner’s heart as his company, the Mantis Group, wrote the development plan for this reserve many years ago and it is now the only Big Five reserve in Rwanda.
When asked about his opinion on Rwanda, Mr Gardiner said he has never seen such a clean country, and he takes his hat off to the Rwandan President and his people as the cleanliness of the country signifies a real commitment to the environment. “I believe that Rwanda is the University of Africa, we can all learn from the people of Rwanda and want to learn from you as you are an example to us all.”