Dian Fossey

Born on January 16th, 1932 in San Francisco, California, Dian Fossey is a re-known world historical who is cherished for her great contribution towards the conservation of mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif.

Dian Fossey was initially a therapist who developed great interest in primates after her first safari tour to Africa that featured countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo among other countries in 1963. Though her closeness to animals dates back to her early age when she was an enthusiastic horseback rider and an aspirant veterinarian, her trip to Africa was a turning point in her life.
The safari tour to Africa enabled her to connect with the famous Dr. Leakey an archeologist and Root family which was in photography with the aim of producing a documentary of African gorillas who gave her the chance of going along with them in search of primates.

Her initial impression with gorillas was later explained in her book gorillas in the mist where Fossey noted that “It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes,” This impression founded the ground for her return as she notes in the same book that “I left Kabara with reluctance, but with never a doubt that I would, somehow, return to learn more about the gorillas of the misted mountains.”

The Dian Fossey got the opportunity of catching up with Dr. Leakey in Kentucky at a lecture in 1966 in Lousiville where she was invited by Leakey to come back to Africa for a long term study of the endangered mountain gorillas as Dr. Leakey believed that researching primates would profoundly be of value to the human evolution study. Dian Fossey then travelled to Democratic Republic of Congo before she transferred to Rwanda escaping the civil war in Congo.

Dian Fossey on arrival in Rwanda, she established Karisoke Research Foundation in 1967 in Volcanoes National Park which is the only gorilla safari park in Rwanda. She championed the gorilla conservation and did enormous research among gorillas which made her obtain a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1976. Dian Fossey published the book Gorillas in the mist in 1983 and became the best seller before she lost her dear life in unknown circumstances as she was found cut by a machete in a cabin at her research station in Rwanda on December 26, 1985 something that was assumable carried out by poachers. In 1988, a film also titled Gorillas in the mist was released by the Sigourney Weaver acting as Fossey.

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