Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa by Farley MowatThis was a library book I checked out on one of my visits where I randomly walk through the nonfiction section and and wait for a book to jump out at me. It was hard to resist the combination of its author, Farley Mowat, a biography about an independent woman, animals and my unwavering curiosity about all things Africa.
Dian Fossey was, if nothing else, an interesting woman to read about for her strength and ability to go after what she wanted. Whether it was career, men, financial backing or political tanglements, her life was colored with adventure and controversy. Ive never read her book Gorillas in the Mist but I consider this the backstory in a sense. This book drops you into her life during the time leading to setting up camp in the high mountains of Rwanda, and gives the reader the situations, trials, successes and utter failures she had while studying gorillas and writing her book. How the book came to be and her struggle to get it completed is a story in itself.
What you learn about more than her actual interactions with the gorillas (although there is some of that) is that her passion for her work and convictions were unwavering. She fought poachers and all others who threatened the lives of the gorillas she dearly loved. She wasnt always right and she wasnt always nice. She lived many years in poor health, lost at love, compromised friendships, and made some bad decisions that cost her dearly. But she also was generous, loving and wise.
It was interesting to think that she was forced out of her camp in the congo due to political unrest and was able to cross the border into Rwanda and continue her work on the Rwandan side of the Virungas. At the time Rwanda was peaceful. However, her death in 1985s and was only a few years before Rwandas economy fell apart and the terrible genocide began.
From what I can find online, Dians legacy is long and her conservation program continues. Thankfully, this courageous woman didnt die in vain.
Interesting Dian Fossey Facts
11 Primal Facts About Dian Fossey
Fossey took an early and avid interest in animals. She entered college as a preveterinary major, but switched majors to occupational therapy. She fulfilled a lifelong dream to travel to Africa in , where she met renown paleontologists Mary and Louis Leakey, who inspired her to study mountain gorillas. She returned to Louisville until , when she returned to Africa, where she studied and lived with mountain gorillas in the Republic of Congo. She fled to Rwanda when civil war broke out in Congo in She established the Karisoke Research Foundation that year. She divided her time between conducting field work in Rwanda and earning a Ph.
She discovered that environment in her thirties and spent the final decades of her life studying the gorillas that lived there. From her groundbreaking primatology work to her mysterious death, here are 11 facts about the scientist behind Gorillas in the Mist. Though she went on to become one of history's most famous animal-lovers, Fossey didn't grow up in a pet-friendly household. The only animal she was allowed to keep as a child was a single goldfish. She loved her fish, but when it died, her parents barred her from getting another animal to replace it. Even a pet hamster offered to her by a classmate was forbidden from entering the house. Not permitted to keep pets in the home, Fossey nurtured her passion for animals through equestrianism.
Dian Fossey was the world's leading authority on the mountain gorilla before her murder, probably at the hands of poachers, in December of Dian Fossey's short life was characterized in equal parts by tragedy, controversy, and extraordinary courage and dedication to the animals she made her life work. That dedication drew her back to Africa over and over despite broken bones, failing health, and threats to her life. All and all, she spent 18 years studying the mountain gorillas and working for their survival as a species. An unlikely chain of circumstances led Fossey to study the mountain gorilla and to her eventual demise high in the fog enshrouded mountains of eastern Africa. Born in San Francisco on January 16, , Fossey was fascinated with animals from an early age. She entered the University of California at Davis to study pre-veterinary medicine but found it difficult to master courses in chemistry and physics.
While working as an occupational therapist, Fossey became interested in primates during a trip to Africa in She studied the endangered gorillas of the Rwandan mountain forest for two decades before her unsolved murder occurred in , at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Fossey told her story in the book Gorillas in the Mist , which was later adapted for a film starring Sigourney Weaver. Primatologist and naturalist Dian Fossey was born on January 16, , in San Francisco, California, and grew up with her mother and stepfather. Developing an affinity for animals at a young age, throughout her youth, Fossey was an avid horseback rider and an aspiring veterinarian. However, after enrolling in pre-veterinary studies at the University of California, Davis, she transferred to San Jose State College and changed her major to occupational therapy.
Our founder, the legendary scientist Dr. Dian Fossey, would have turned 84 on Jan. Although she was killed while trying to find ways to protect her beloved mountain gorillas, her work lives on in so many ways, especially through the daily monitoring and protection that the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund now provides daily. The mountain gorilla population has nearly doubled since her time, as a direct result of the work she started, and this is certainly her biggest legacy. Fossey was a fascinating individual in many ways, as well as a courageous and brilliant scientist.