Twenty baby mountain gorillas have been given names in a colourful ceremony in the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda’s Musanze district in the north of the country.

A new gorilla family was also named at the 18th edition of the gorilla naming ceremony.

The naming is symbolic, and gorillas are not physically present at the event.

Thousands of Rwandans gathered to celebrate the special day dedicated to the rare mountain primates.

Babies from several gorilla families were given names either with a Rwandan cultural significance or with references to the importance of conservation.

International celebrities including conservationists and broadcasters, sports people, actors and musicians took part in the naming ceremony.

Didier Drogba, the legendary striker who powered Chelsea to their first UEFA Champions League in 2012, names his baby gorilla ‘Ishami’ — Offspring.

Prince Charles joined the event virtually and named a male baby gorilla Ubwuzuzanye – which means harmony.

In a brief message played at the event, the Prince of Wales said that the restoration of harmony and balance between nature, people and the planet is the most critical issue facing humanity.

More than 250 baby gorillas have been named since 2005 in several editions of Kwita Izina – which means “to give a name” in Kinyarwanda.

Gorilla conservation in east Africa’s great lakes region suffered from poaching and habitat encroachment for decades.

But over the last 20 years, the great apes have recovered from the brink of extinction.

Just over 1,000 mountain gorillas are found in the region, the only place in the world that is their natural habitat.