How Dian Fossey found humanity among the gorillas


Just before mountain gorilla researcher and “Gorillas in the Mist” author Dian Fossey was murdered in her cabin in the Viruga Mountains in Rwanda, she reflected in her journal about life and the future. This was in her last entry:

“When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.”

Ms. Fossey lived a varied life, with occupations ranging from a prize-winning equestrian, to a children’s occupational therapist, and even a farm hand in Kentucky. When combined, she had a unique skill set that enabled her to both research and serve as an almost-radical advocate for mountain gorillas in Rwanda – contributions that have outlasted her untimely death. Her legacy has been immortalized online with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 82nd birthday.

Fossey was born on January 16, 1932 in San Francisco, the daughter of a fashion model and an insurance agent. However, her parents divorced when she was 6. She grew up without contact with her father, and was not close to her stepfather when her mother remarried.


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