Come face to face with mountain gorillas! Dive into the life of Dian Fossey on a gorilla safari in Africa and meet her ‘’Gorillas in the Mist’’
The rough Virunga Mountains are the beating heart of Africa. Researcher Dian Fossey an American Zoologist primatologist and anthropologist undertook an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups over a period of 18 years drew attention to the poachers that were hunting the mountain gorillas in the virunga massifs was killed trying to protect the elusive gorillas. In 1967, she made the mountain slopes of the Visoke volcano her home, to study the animals more closely. She Gained the trust of animals as she copied the way they eat plants, the way they scratch themselves and she also pounds her chest and burps just like the gorillas.
Dian Fossey made discoveries about gorillas including how females transfer from group to group over the decades, gorilla vocalization hierarchies and social relationships among groups, rare intanticide, gorilla diet, and how gorillas recycle nutrients. After 3years she stuck out her hand to a gorilla and the animal touched her fingers with his placing her own life at risk, Fossey publically addressed the problems of continuous poaching and thanks to her work, an international project to benefit the mountain gorilla was set up. Its goals were to gain more insight into the gorillas and to stimulate tourism. This was supposed to create jobs and reduce poaching. Fossey did not agree with such an idea. She believed in more patrols that had the authority to shoot at poachers. Such an idea created hatred within poachers and therefore she was not very well liked. Her murder on 26th December 1985 remains a mystery and there are several theories about her death. One is that former governor protais Zigiranyirazo ordered to have her killed , another idea is that poachers were behind her murder. The greater public discovered her unique work through the motion picture ‘’gorillas in the mist’’. Her 1983 book, ‘’Gorillas in the Mist’’ combines her scientific study of the gorillas at Karisoke Research Centre with her own personal story. It was adopted into a 1988 film of the same name. Fossey was murdered in 1985.
It was from a small hut in Rwanda that researcher and conservationist Dian Fossey observed that while gorillas may sometimes act tough, they are really gentle giants. Fossey is one of the most famous scientists in the world, but the path to greatness was a meandering one. Fossey’s research was funded by the Wilkie Foundation and the Leakey Home, with primary funding from the National Geographical society. By 1980, Fossey who had obtained her PHD at Cambridge university in the UK was recognized as the worlds leading authority on the physiology and behavior of mountain gorillas, defining gorillas as being dignified , highly social , gentle giants, with individual personalities, and strong family relationships.
Dian Fossey lectured as professor at Cornel university in 1981-83. Her best selling book ‘’Gorillas in the Mist’’ was praised by Nikolaas Tinbergen, the Dutch ethologist and ornithologist who won the 1973 Nobel prize in physiologist or Medicine. Her book remains the best selling book about gorillas.
Fossey was buried at Karisoke in a site that she herself had constructed for her deceased gorilla friends. She was buried in the gorilla graveyard next to Digit and near many gorillas killed by poachers . Memorial services were also held in New york, Washington and California.