Rue Dian Fossey - Street

Rue Dian Fossey

Famous primatologist
Activist for the protection of mountain gorillas
Birth year
Year of death
Places of residence
San Francisco - USA ¦ Rwanda

Who is she?

The famous primatologist Dian Fossey was born on 16 January 1932 in San Francisco. Her parents divorced when she was six years old. Dian Fossey did not get along with her stepfather, who was too strict. She became an introverted and solitary child who preferred the company of animals. She looks after her goldfish, goes horseback riding, and dreams of becoming a veterinarian. However, she did not manage to complete the first year of veterinary school. Dian Fossey then turned to occupational therapy studies. After graduating, she worked as an occupational therapist with sick children. Eager to travel, she quit her job, gathered her savings, and borrowed money to finance a six-month trip to Africa. It was during this first trip, in 1963, that Dian Fossey became interested in gorillas. She met the archaeologist Louis Leakey, who became her husband.

In 1966, her husband suggested that she return to Africa to conduct a study on gorillas. The following year, Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda. She devoted herself to studying the behaviour of mountain gorillas. In parallel with her observations of primates, she prepared a doctorate in zoology. Her work bore fruit: Dian Fossey worked for the protection of this endangered species and the respect of the primates' environment. However, through her efforts, she attracted the wrath of the poachers in the region. In 1983, she published an autobiographical account of her experience, "Gorillas in the Mist". The book quickly became a bestseller. It was adapted into a film in 1988, with Sigourney Weaver in the lead role.

On 26 December 1985, Dian Fossey was murdered. The motive for the murder has never been clarified. It is possible that the zoologist was the victim of reprisals by poachers or animal traffickers. The American zoologist was found dead in her study camp "Karisoke" in the heart of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. A symbol of the fight to protect the African gorillas, Dian Fossey became fascinated with the great apes in the late 1960s. In the absence of evidence, no prosecution was initiated after Dian Fossey's death.



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