Rwanda expect Arsenal to send a first-team player to the country for their annual gorilla-naming ceremony known locally as ‘Kwita Izina’

Arsenal’s participation is part of the deal which saw the country’s tourism office sponsor the club’s sleeves for £30m.

Speaking to the media in the country, the RDB Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza, said, ‘a number of superstars’ have been lined up for the event which will take place on 7 September in Kinigi on the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park but he declined to confirm the names of the players who would be in attendance.

Rwandan children perform in baby gorilla costumes for approximately 20,000 Rwandan villagers, government officials and tourists as part of Rwanda's 7th Annual Kwita Izina (baby naming) Ceremony for the country's rare mountain gorillas on June 18, 2011 in Kigali. Living in parks straddling Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, the rare mountain gorillas have become the center piece of Rwanda's growing tourism industry as their population has risen to 780 in recent years from just 250 in the 1980's.
Rwandan children perform in baby gorilla costumes for approximately 20,000 Rwandan villagers, government officials and tourists as part of Rwanda’s 7th Annual Kwita Izina (baby naming) Ceremony for the country’s rare mountain gorillas on June 18, 2011 in Kigali. Living in parks straddling Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, the rare mountain gorillas have become the center piece of Rwanda’s growing tourism industry as their population has risen to 780 in recent years from just 250 in the 1980’s.

Kwita Izina started in 2005 and is descried by AllAfrica.com as ‘a uniquely Rwandan event with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla.’

In total, 23 mountain gorilla babies will be named at this year’s ceremony which seems tailor-made for Aaron Ramsey, known for his love of wildlife and animal conservation.

via WalesOnline

Although his particular favourite seems to be the rhino, who doesn’t love a gorilla?

About the mountain gorilla, the official Volcanoes National Park website writes, “The mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengie), the world’s most endangered ape, is found only in small portions of protected afro Montane forests in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern DRC.

This photo taken on June 17, 2012, shows a young member of the Agashya family of mountain Gorillas frolicking in dense undergrowth at the Virunga National park in Rwanda. For ten years the number of mountain gorillas has shown a steady growth in the Virungas mountains, which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The large primates in the national park now number about 480 individuals, out of a world population of 790. This trend, achieved despite chronic armed conflict across the D.R. Congo border that adjoins the gorilla habitat, is essentially the result of sustained fight against poaching, say the Rwandan authorities. AFP PHOTO / AUDE GENET
This photo taken on June 17, 2012, shows a young member of the Agashya family of mountain Gorillas frolicking in dense undergrowth at the Virunga National park in Rwanda. For ten years the number of mountain gorillas has shown a steady growth in the Virungas mountains, which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The large primates in the national park now number about 480 individuals, out of a world population of 790. This trend, achieved despite chronic armed conflict across the D.R. Congo border that adjoins the gorilla habitat, is essentially the result of sustained fight against poaching, say the Rwandan authorities. AFP PHOTO / AUDE GENET

“Hidden high among the forested volcanoes of East Africa, the mountain gorilla was unknown to science until 1902, when two were first encountered by a German explorer and promptly killed. It set the tone for the relationship. For much of the time since, due to deforestation and poaching, it has seemed that the mountain gorilla was swiftly destined to be lost to the world again. Not long after the species’ greatest champion, the American zoologist Dian Fossey was killed in Rwanda in 1985-there were fewer than 300 of the giant primates left in the wild.

“Today nearly half of the world’s 700 remaining mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains of central Africa, at the intersection of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcanic slopes here are lush with tropical forests and diverse mammal, bird, and reptile species but they are also at the heart of a region in crisis.”