Dian Fossey Facts, Biography, Research, Books, & Discovery

Dian Fossey Facts, Biography, Research, Books, & Discovery. Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund | Dian Fossey: A Conservation Pioneer. In order to research and preserve mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda in 1967. Her work has been carried on by the Karisoke Research Center, which has also created other conservation initiatives for nearby populations and other species of animals.

Gorilla Conservation

Trackers from the Fossey Fund are given gorilla packs and conduct daily tracking operations throughout the National Parks. They are in charge of keeping track of the gorillas’ overall health and wellbeing, as well as their behavior and any alterations to the group’s demographics, such as deaths, births, immigration, or emigration.

Gaining the Trust of the Gorillas | Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Educational Opportunities for Staff

The organization trains young African scientists in the capacities required for assuming leadership positions in the field of conservation to secure the durability of their research. In addition to having access to graduate internship options for additional training, students receive close supervision throughout their academic careers.

Conservation Programs in Local Schools

The charity distributes supplies and educational tools to more than 5,600 elementary school students annually. The top students are taken on nature hikes and to see the golden monkeys as an incentive, and conservation classes are offered in nearby parks.


In 2018, Ellen DeGeneres’ wife donated a huge sum of money to help build a permanent home for The Fossey Fund. Such generosity stemmed from sharing the same passion.

“I’ve always been passionate about helping animals,” DeGeneres said. “Nobody knows this more than my wife, and she knew the exact right gift to give me. These gorillas are so incredible and so closely linked to us, sharing 98 percent of our DNA. There are only 880 of these majestic creatures left on this planet. I’m beyond excited to get to work with the Fossey Fund to support their work and help protect these amazing animals.” – Ellen

Best Rwanda Gorilla Tours

2 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda

1 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda is the shortest Budget One Day Gorilla trek Rwanda starting from Kigali or Musanze.

Luxury Gorilla Tours in Rwanda

2 Day Gorilla Trek Rwanda is a short Gorilla trekking tour in Rwanda to Volcanoes National Park.

4 Days Rwanda Gorilla safari tours

3 Days Gorilla trek Rwanda and Kigali City Tour is the best Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safari is one perfect short Gorilla trekking

Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

4 Days Rwanda Gorilla trekking safari and Golden monkey trekking tour is such a memorable one that goes beyond just seeing.

Dian Fossey’s Early Days

San Francisco, California is the site of Dian Fossey’s birth in 1932. Even as a little girl, she had a deep fascination with animals. She got her first riding lesson when she was six years old and went on to get a letter in high school.

However, at the urging of her stepfather, Dian decided to major in business when she enrolled in classes at Marin Junior College. She worked on a Montana ranch during the summer after her first year of college. She re-enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley as a pre-veterinary student after developing an emotional connection to the ranch’s animals. But she struggled through a few classes and changed her major to occupational therapy at San Jose State College, where she earned her degree in 1954.

Dian interned with tuberculosis patients at multiple California hospitals after finishing medical school. After that, she took a position as head of the occupational therapy department at Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. The proprietors of the farm where she resided in Kentucky actively sought her assistance in caring for the animals.

Following the recommendation of a friend who had recently returned from a trip to Africa, Dian resolved to fulfill her lifelong desire to explore more of the globe and its diverse fauna.

Dian borrowed money from the bank in 1963 and started making plans for her first African vacation. She hired a driver through the mail and got ready to go to the place she had always dreamed of.

Dian Fossey Narrates Her Life With Gorillas in This Vintage Footage

Dian Fossey Sets Off to Study the Mountain Gorillas

Dian returned to her job at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Kentucky and managed to squeeze in some writing and publishing of her Africa trip photos and stories. These would be useful in the spring of 1966 when Dr. Louis Leakey visited Louisville as part of a lecture tour. Dian got in line with the rest of the people so she could talk to Leakey. By the time it was her turn, she had already shown him a few of her published pieces.

This piqued his interest, and in the subsequent conversation, Leakey proposed to Dian the idea of leading a long-term field effort to investigate African gorillas. Dian was told by Leakey that she would need to get her appendix removed before she could proceed. Maybe it was a reflection of her strong will that she went ahead and did just that, but she subsequently found out from Leakey that his idea was really just him testing her resolve!

Leakey had to wait eight months before she could get the money for the research. During that period, Dian studied and paid off her first trip to Africa. She read extensively from George Schaller’s works about his experiences studying mountain gorillas in the wild and from a “Teach Yourself Swahili” grammar book.

Another journey to Africa was in store for Dian in December 1966. After she had gathered all the essentials in Nairobi, she boarded an old Land Rover with a canvas top called “Lily,” which Dr. Leakey had bought for her, and headed for the Congo. Dian stopped by the Gombe Stream Research Centre on her way to see Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees and meet with her.