Rwanda gives names to 24 baby mountain gorillas to promote conservation, draw tourists

Rwanda has named 24 baby mountain gorillas in an annual ceremony that reflects the African country's efforts to protect the endangered animals, which attract large numbers of foreign tourists to the volcano-studded forests where they live.

The young gorillas, identified by trackers and researchers, were in their wild habitat nearby and not at the naming event Saturday in Kinigi, near the entrance to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. But Rwandan President Paul Kagame was among thousands of people who gathered there to celebrate the threatened population of mountain gorillas, whose image adorns numerous sculptures in Rwanda as well as a national currency banknote.

The Rwandan government hopes the naming ceremony will highlight the importance of protecting mountain gorillas. Conservationists say naming gorillas assists in monitoring the animals in the wild.