Rwanda Dian Fossey Biography
Born in San Francisco , California to George and Kitty Fossey on January 16 1932. Dian Fossey was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years in the Virunga mountain ranges of Rwanda.She studied them daily establishing the Karisoke research centre in Rushongeri-Rwanda and was encouraged to come to Africa on a safari by friends,eventually falling in love with the gorillas.
Dian Fossey is also famously known for dismissing the stereotype of wild gorillas as being macabre as was depicted to the world in movies.This she did by being the first known human to take pictures with a wild gorilla holding hands;pictures which appeared on the cover of the National Geographic Magazine in 1970.
Fossey was a strong advocate of active conservation in form of periodic anti-poaching patrols and general preservation of their natural habitat;in opposition to conservation through tourism which involved keeping animals in zoos.This she argued often involved the killing of their family members as they try to defend themselves from captivity. Also,because animals do not survive the transport to their new “homes” coupled with a low breeding and survival rate in zoos which is much less than the rate in the wild.This is evident in the pivotal role she played in fettering the exportation of coco and parker which were 2 young gorillas in 1978 and restoring them to health.This incident backed Dian Fossey’s theory of active conservation because it was later learnt that for the successful capture of the 2 young gorillas,20 of their relatives had to be killed.
She also strongly opposed tourism, for gorillas are very vulnerable to human diseases like the flu for which they have no immune defense. There were several reported cases where gorillas died because of diseases spread by tourists. She also viewed tourism as an interference into their natural wild behaviour.
Dian Fossey was sadly murdered in her cabin on 26th December 1985 under suspicious circumstances.Fossey’s remains lie next to those of gorillas killed by porchers in a memorial site she had constructed for gorillas in Karisoke.
A film woman in the mist was shot in her memory.
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