Dian Fossey

by Helena Mcgrath from Switzerland

Dian was instructed by chimpanzee specialist Jane Goodall, watching and recording mountain gorilla's behaviour. Her work took her to Africa where there are the most mountain gorillas left. She worked in Zaire and then Rwanda where she opened Karisoke Research Center. After many years of watching mountain gorillas, they came to know and trust her. She could sit in the midst of a group of them and even play with their young without the slightest sign of apprehension coming from them! Dian even gave them names!

In 1980, Dian Fossey went to England to attend Cambridge university. She obtained a PhD in zoology. Afterwards, she took a teaching position at Cornell university in New York where she wrote about her experiences in Rwanda. In 1983 her book was published and given the name: 'Gorillas in the Mist'. The next year she returned to Rwanda to continue working in the Karisoke Research Center. There she was happy for a while, working with her gorillas.

Her favourite gorilla, Digit, was killed by poachers for his hands which were used for ashtrays. That was when Dian started a campaign against poaching. Her outspokenness made a very unfortunate target for violence. In 1985 she was found in her hut. Lifeless. Nobody ever found the killer but it is still thought to be a poacher.

Her legacy is still alive in many organizations trying to help the less than 650 mountain gorillas left in the wild.

Page created on 9/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 9/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

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people, many. "My Hero." [Online] Available

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This was created for homework. Dian Fossey was a great woman and I hope many more people will follow the tracks she left.