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In honour of Dian Fossey

Among the most legendary primatologists of our time, Dian Fossey went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behaviour. She faced and overcame many obstacles and ultimately gave her life to gorilla protection.

Dian Fossey is a name now synonymous with gorilla conservation and immortalised in the film Gorillas in the Mist and the development of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund 

She dedicated much of her life to studying the elusive mountain gorillas and in doing so paved the way for us all to understand that these majestic animals were anything but the beasts they had often been portrayed and were in fact gentle and kind family loving animals just like ourselves.

Individuals that develop and maintain long term family bonds, with gorilla mums protecting their babies and teaching them how to find food and safety, and  silverback males communicating to their social group by humming when they eat to express contentment with their meal, and to let the group know that mealtime is continuing and it is not yet time to move on. 

Her dedication and commitment to understanding and revealing the complex natural lives of Gorillas led to a global fascination of the beauty of these gentle giants and paved the way for conservation efforts that continue to this day to try to protect them and their forest home.

January 16th marks the birthday of this renowned scientist and despite her tragic death on 26th December 1985 her legacy lives on, and thanks in part to her studies in the 60’s/70’s and 80’s, many thousands of gorillas have been able to walk the paths that she walked.

Dian’s story can be explored in detail here 

Photo copyright @shutterstock 547835170

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