All About Dian Fossey the Gorilla Conservationist

Dian Fossey

People from different parts of world visit Rwanda for mountain gorilla trekking safari and Dian Fossey but they do not Know how real Dian Fossey was, here is a summary of her life. She was born in San Francisco, California and was a daughter of Kathryn Kitty, a fashion model.

Unfortunately her parents divorced when she was only six years of age then the following year, her mother remarried the following year to a prominent business man Richard Price. The father tried to keep in full contact with the mother however the mother discouraged her and he subsequently lost the contact and the step father did never treated her as his own child. Interesting enough at the age of six years, she began horse riding and earning a letter from her school during the graduation in 1954

Dian Fossey was educated at Lowell High school following the guidance of the step father who enrolled her in business school at the College of Marin though he turned it down spending her summer on a ranch in Montana at the age of 19 and gaining momentum for the love for animals and eventually was enrolled for a pre-veterinary course in biology at the University of California which was contravention to her step father’s wishes. She spent her life working with animals and as a consequence her father failed to give her substantial amount of financial support throughout her adult life. However she supported herself by working as a clerk at white from department, doing other clerking and laboratory work and laboring as a machinist in a factory.

She turned down the offer to join the Henry on an African tour due to lack of finances though in 1963, she borrowed $ 8,000 which took her life savings and went on a seven week visit to Africa where she arrived in Nairobi, Kenya‘s capital where she met actor William Holden the owner of Treetops Hotel who then introduced her to John Alexandra who became her guide for the following seven weeks through the pride of Africa (Kenya), Tanzania, Democratic republic of Congo and Rhodesia. The guide’s route with her included visits to is Tsavo national park which is Africa’s biggest park, Lake Manyara famous for flamingos and Ngororongoro crater which is well known for the abundant wildlife.

Then she left to Congo and on her way, she visited Gombe stream research center to meet Goodall and her research methods first with the Chimps while being accompanied with her photographer Alan Root, who helped her to obtain her work permit for the Virunga Mountains and began her field study at Kabara in the republic of Congo. During her research, she identified three distinct groups in her study area though she could not get close to them

The date was 24th, 1967 when she founded Karisoke Research Center, a remote rainforest camp which is nestled in Ruhengeri province in the saddle of two volcanoes and she was known by the locals as Nyimachabeli which roughly as the woman who lives alone on the mountain. She then tempted to prevent the export of two young gorillas from Rwanda to the Zoo in Germany and during the capture of the infants at the behest of the cologne Zoo and Rwandan park conservator.

She first encountered mountain gorillas on a seven-week trip to Africa and abandoned her career as an occupational therapist to set up the Karisoke research centre in Rwanda in 1967.

Lacking any scientific training, Dian struck up a unique bond with the apes. Awestruck locals called her “the woman who lives in the forest without a man”.

She even adopted one group of gorillas, naming the silverback after her beloved Uncle Bert and a female after her aunt Flossie. She also nursed two orphans Coco and Pucker back to health after they were injured by poachers who planned to sell them to a German zoo.

But her favourite was a young gorilla with a broken finger she named Digit, who loved to play with her. When Digit was killed and his head was hacked off by poachers on New Year’s Eve, 1977, she was overcome by grief and anger.

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