Fossey, Dian


Fossey, Dian
born Jan. 16, 1932, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.
found dead Dec. 26, 1985, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

U.S. zoologist.

She was working as an occupational therapist when, on a trip to Africa in 1963, she met Louis Leakey (see Leakey family), who persuaded her to return to study the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Owing to her patient and nonthreatening interactions, the gorillas of Rwanda's Virunga Mountains became accustomed to her presence, and she was able to gather detailed knowledge of their habits, communication, and social structure. She obtained a Ph.D. in 1974 and taught at Cornell University while remaining involved with the Karisoke Research Center in Africa, which she had established in 1967. She recounted her observations in Gorillas in the Mist (1983; film, 1988). She actively protected the gorillas from poachers, who are suspected of her murder at Karisoke.

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▪ American zoologist
born Jan. 16, 1932, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.
died Dec. 26, 1985, Rwanda
 American zoologist who became the world's leading authority on the mountain gorilla.

      Fossey trained to become an occupational therapist at San Jose State College and graduated in 1954. She worked in that field for several years at a children's hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1963 she took a trip to eastern Africa, where she met the anthropologist Louis Leakey (Leakey, Louis S.B.) and had her first glimpse of mountain gorillas. She returned to the United States after her trip, but in 1966 Leakey persuaded her to go back to Africa to study the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat on a long-term basis. To this end, she established the Karisoke Research Centre in 1967 and began a hermitlike existence in Rwanda's Virunga Mountains, which was one of the last bastions of the endangered mountain gorilla. Through patient effort, Fossey was able to observe the animals and accustom them to her presence, and the data that she gathered greatly enlarged contemporary knowledge of the gorilla's habits, communication, and social structure.

      Fossey left Africa in 1970 to complete work for a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England. In 1974 she received her degree in zoology with the completion of her dissertation, “The Behavior of the Mountain Gorilla.” She returned to Rwanda with student volunteers who made broader kinds of research possible. Motivated by the killing of Digit, one of her favoured gorillas, Fossey generated international media coverage in 1978 in her battle against poachers.

 In 1980 Fossey returned to the United States to accept a visiting associate professorship at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. While teaching, Fossey also completed Gorillas in the Mist (1983; film 1988). Back in Rwanda, Fossey resumed her campaign against poachers, taking increasingly drastic measures to protect the Virunga gorillas. On December 26, 1985, her slain body was discovered near her campsite. Though no assailant was ever identified, it is widely suspected that she was killed by the poachers against whom she had struggled for so long.

Additional Reading
Farley Mowat, Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa (1987, reissued 1994), looks at her life and work.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fossey, Dian — (16 ene. 1932, San Francisco, Cal., EE.UU.– hallada muerta 26 dic. 1985, parque nacional Volcanes de Virunga, Ruanda). Zoóloga estadounidense. Trabajaba como terapeuta ocupacional cuando en un viaje a África, en 1963, conoció a Louis Leakey (ver… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dian Fossey — in November 1985; photograph by Yann Arthus Bertrand Born January …   Wikipedia

  • Fossey — Fossey, Dian (1932 85) a US scientist who became famous for her study of mountain ↑gorillas. She lived among the gorillas in Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of Congo) during the 1960s and wrote a book called Gorillas in the Mist (1983) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Dian Fossey — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Fossey. Dian Fossey (16 janvier 1932, San Francisco, Californie 26 décembre 1985, montagnes des Virunga, Rwanda) est une éthologue américaine, spécialisée dans l étude du comportement des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dian — (as used in expressions) Dian Lake Dian Chi Fossey Dian * * * …   Universalium

  • Dian Fossey — (* 16. Januar 1932 in San Francisco; † 26. Dezember 1985 im Karisoke Research Center, zwischen dem Karisimbi und dem Visoke der Virunga Vulkankette, Ruanda) war eine US amerikanische Zoologin und Verhaltensforscherin, die sich der Erforschung des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dian Fossey — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Dian Fossey Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Dian Fossey — (San Francisco, Estados Unidos, 16 de enero de 1932 Ruhengeri, Ruanda, 26 de diciembre de 1985), zoóloga estadounidense reconocida por su labor científica y conservacionista con los gorilas de las montañas Virunga (en Ruanda y el Congo). Nace en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dian — may refer to: Dian Cecht, the God of healing in Irish mythology Dian (mythology), one of the sons of Carman in Celtic or Irish mythology Diān (滇), an abbreviation for Yunnan, China Dian Fossey, an American zoologist Dian Hong tea, a black tea… …   Wikipedia

  • Dian (disambiguation) — Dian may refer to: * Dian, a person in Celtic mythology * Dian (滇), an abbreviation for Yunnan, China * Dian Cecht, a healer in Irish mythology * Dian Fossey, an American ethologist * Dian Hong tea, a black tea grown in Yunnan, China * The Dian… …   Wikipedia


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