Dian Fossey

American primatologist and conservationist (1932–1985) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dian Fossey (/dˈæn/ dy-AN; January 16, 1932 – c.December 26, 1985) was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups from 1966 until her murder in 1985.[1] She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey. Gorillas in the Mist, a book published two years before her death, is Fossey's account of her scientific study of the gorillas at Karisoke Research Center and prior career. It was adapted into a 1988 film of the same name.[2]

Quick facts: Dian Fossey, Born, Died, Cause of death,...
Dian Fossey
Born(1932-01-16)January 16, 1932
Diedc.December 26, 1985(1985-12-26) (aged 53)
Cause of deathMurder
Resting placeKarisoke Research Center
Alma mater
Known forStudy and conservation of the mountain gorilla
Scientific career
ThesisThe behaviour of the mountain gorilla (1976)
Doctoral advisorRobert Hinde

Fossey was a leading primatologist, and a member of the "Trimates", a group of female scientists recruited by Leakey to study great apes in their natural environments, along with Jane Goodall who studies chimpanzees, and Biruté Galdikas, who studies orangutans.[3][4]

Fossey spent 20 years in Rwanda, where she supported conservation efforts, strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats, and made more people acknowledge the sapience of gorillas. Following the killing of a gorilla and subsequent tensions, she was murdered in her cabin at a remote camp in Rwanda in December 1985. Although Fossey's American research assistant was convicted in absentia, there is no consensus as to who killed her.

Her research and conservation work helped reduce the downward population trend in mountain gorillas.