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Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey [American Primatologist] was born in the 1932, January 16th and she was an American zoologist, primatologist and anthropologist who took a study on the mountain gorillas for over 18 years. Throughout the world she was called the most primatologist and was born in San Francisco in California to Kathryn and George.

The parents of Dian Fossey divorced when she was 6 years old and her mother remarried to a businessman Richard price who mistreated her to the extent of not allowing her to sit on the same table with her mother during meals. With no emotional support from her step father, Dian Fossey struggled with insecurity which made her turn to love animals who accepted her. She joined her love with the first pet goldfish and this continued throughout her life. Dian fossey kept on studying the mountain gorillas within the volcanoes national park in Rwanda and she was encouraged to work there as an anthropologist by Louis Leakey.

In her book titled `Gorillas in the mist’ includes all the studies about the gorillas at Karisoke research center. The story in the book was adapted in the movie titled Gorillas in the mist’. Due to the guidance of her step father, Dian Fossey studied at Lowell high school and later enrolled in a business course at college of Marin. She spent her summer in Montana on a ranch at the age of 19 years where she regained her love for animals and enrolled in a pre-veterinary course at California.

Although she wanted to fulfill her step fathers wish at the business school, Dian wanted to accomplish her professional life working with animals. Thus she supported her adult life and started working as a clerked white front doing clerking and laboratory work in a factory. Fossey was very much interested in animals and her occupation turned up to be a therapist. One year after hearing stories and seeing pictures from a friend who had visited Africa, Dian decided on wanting to visit Africa by herself and she did it in 1963. She collected some savings from her full year salary and also took out a 3 year loan.

She started her journey with stopovers in Kenya, Tanzania, Congo and Zimbabwe and little did she know that the trip would change her whole journey of life. In Tanzania at Olduvai Gorge, Dian met archaeologist named Louis Leakey who told her they needed a research on the chimpanzees. On her way to Congo she visited the Bombe stream research center to meet Goddall who observed her research on the chimps and later on helped her to obtain a work permit within the Virunga national park. After her trip, Dian Fossey made up her mind on returning back to Africa to do a study about the mountain gorillas.

In 1967, September 24th, Dian founded the karisoke research center an area in the rain forest camp nestled in Ruhengeri between the volcanoes. The name of the research center was combined with the first letters of mount Karisimbi which over looked her camp from the south and the last letters of mount Bisoke, the slopes rose to the north behind the camp. The letters were `Kari’ and `soke’ and was named by the locals as Nyiramacibiri the name which means `the woman who lives alone on the mountain’

Dian Fossey
Dian Fossey

She decided to take care of the mountain gorillas before they disappeared and she could go on spreading the word about the mountain gorillas in the virungas. Dian gained trust by adapting to the gorilla habit of chewing celery stalks and walking on knuckles thus spending most of the time habituating the gorillas. She even started naming the gorillas by using the differences of their noses and character and thus named the gorillas after her aunty Flossie and her uncle Bert. She as well nursed two orphaned gorillas who were injured by poachers planning to sell them to a German zoo. It took long for Dian to study the karisoke Gorillas since they knew people as poachers. Not only that the researchers who visited the area weren’t able to handle the cold, muddy and dark conditions around the karisoke, the paths had to be cut to make away through the tall grass.

Dian Fossey fought for the mountain gorillas within Rwanda by reporting the poachers and lots of the Gorillas were killed plus Digit who was Dian’s favorite gorilla and Macho the female and Kwii. Although Fossey always knew her life was in danger to the extent of sleeping with a pistol next to her bed, she was surprisingly killed by her enemies and murdered in her cabin. Dian Fossey died as a warrior who fought for the endangered species. Her murder took place in 1985 thus dying before knowing she had paved way for the mountain gorillas to live thus her research laid foundation to conserve the mountain gorillas and the eco-tourism industry

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