Dian Fossey was born in Fairfax, California in 1932. She was
an only child and was always interested in animals. She attended
San Jose State where she majored in veterinary medicine for a
while, but ended up getting a degree in occupational therapy. After
reading a book by George Schaller, who is now 65 years old and was
one of the first people to conduct a scientific study of the mountain
gorilla. Later she attended a symposium where Dr. Louis Leakey was
the lead speaker and convinced him to let her conduct a field study
on mountain gorillas.
In 1967, Dian Fossey began observing and trying to get an
accurate count of the mountain gorillas in Zaire. She ended up
having to leave there because of a civil war. Dian relocated to
Rwanda, where she founded the Karisoke research center. She
lived there for almost 20 years among the gorillas. Dian was one
of the first people to ever have voluntary contact with a gorilla and
eventually was able to sit among them to observe and play with
them. Fossey temporarily left Africa to attend Cambridge
University and earn her Ph.D in Zoology in 1974.
For more information see the links we've gathered at the conclusion page of this website.
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