Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who had passion for the conservation of gorillas in Africa and led to the increase of gorilla in the world through her efforts that have continued to run down at the research institute she established.

Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey was born on the 16th of January 1932 once she discovered the jungles of Africa she spent her entire life conserving and studying gorillas. As a child Dian Fossey grew up with only one pet golden fish at her home and when the fish died her parents didn’t allow her to keep any other pet in the house.

At the age of 6 years Dian Fossey received her first horse back riding lesson and this led her to be in a team at Lowell high school in San Francisco, she got more interest in animals as she earned a lot of awards, when she went to the University of California she pursued education in animal husbandry.

At the age of 31 inspired by a friend’s trip to Africa, Dian Fossey got a three year bank loan and spent her life time savings exploring the wilderness of Tanzania, Congo, Zimbabwe and Congo. Dian Fossey met Dr Leaky the famous anthropologist who was known for sponsoring the women trimates including Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas.

Dian Fossey joined the wildlife photographers Joan and Allan root that were going for an expedition photographing animals in the Congo Mountains, thus was the first time Dian Fossey met the great mountain gorillas.

In the 1966, Dian Fossey met with Dr Louis Leakey back in the United States and Dr Leakey was just looking for a person to study mountain gorillas like Jane Goodall who studied Chimpanzees. Dian Fossey returned to Congo at the end of 1966.

In the year 1967, a civil war broke out from Congo and rebel soldiers captured her base camp in July, Dian Fossey got out on a condition of giving them her land rover and money. Dian Fossey was driven to Uganda despites the wars and unstable political environment, she was still determined to do her work, Dian Fossey travelled to Rwanda and set up a camp in Rwanda despite warnings from the United States embassy.

Dian Fossey gained gorillas trust by adapting to the gorilla habitat by chewing celery stalks and walking on knuckles, Dian Fossey spent most of the time habituating gorillas and the locals even gave her a nicknameNyiramachebeli to mean “the woman who lives alone in the mountain”

Dian Fossey started to name gorillas most times using the differences of their noses and characters, by the year 1983 Dian Fossey published a book gorillas in the Mist. After five years Dian  SigourneyWeaver starred as Dian Fossey in a film of the same name.

For years, gorillas were seen as wild beasts but Dian Fossey revealed the softer side of this great apes. Dian Fossey named some of the mountain gorillas after her auntie Flossie and her Uncle Bert, Dian Fossey nursed two orphaned gorillas who were injured by poachers planning to sell them to a German zoo.

Dian Fossey feared when there was more poaching that gorilla would become extinct so she developed more tactics like wearing a Halloween mask to scare the poachers as she looked like a witch to poachers she also paid armed robbers to protect mountain gorillas.

When the enemies became too many Dian Fossey returned to the United States creating awareness and teaching about mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey returned after raising enough money and the Rwandan government had also started conserving gorillas.

Tragedy fell on the eve of the 27th of December 1985 when Dian Fossey was brutally murdered, she was got dead in her cabin at her camp in Rwanda and up to day no body knows who hit Dian Fossey with a machete on the head though the Rwandan court convicted her research assistant Wayne McGuire to death in absetia he fled Rwanda before the conviction.

Dian Fossey was buried near her favorite gorilla known as Digit who was murdered by poachers earlier on. Other report said that Dian fossey’s love for animals led her into capturing poachers and tiring them up, whipping with gorilla dung and stinging their festivals with nettles it’s even said that Dian Fossey one time kidnapped a poacher’s son.

Other reports say that the US diplomats and fellow scientists in Rwanda who did poaching indirectly and smuggled gold feared Dian Fossey would report them and hence got rid of her.

Wayne McGuire is said to have been helped by a tracker Rwelekena who died in jail and guards believe he was murdered to hide the truth others say suicide. Dian’s cabin had been ransacked but no weapons or money stolen obviously ruling out the poachers.

It’s also said that Dian wrote a letter to Redmond before her death about gold smuggling as her center was near prime gold smuggling routes but the copy was found after her death this filed suspicion of her planned death to smugglers, any other clues about who killed the famous American primatologists were lost during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in Rwanda were about 800,000 people were killed.

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