Who Is the Gorilla Lady?

The gorilla lady was Dian Fossey, a scientist and conservationist who spent a large part of her life studying mountain gorillas. Starting in 1963, she spent the next 18 years studying gorillas, visiting and staying in Africa regularly between periods of teaching.

Dian Fossey began her work with gorillas in 1963 when she first went to Africa. In 1966 she met fellow scientists who inspired her to study gorillas. She met and learned from Jane Goodall. For a while she studied the gorillas in Zaire until she was captured. She moved on to Rwanda and continued her work until political unrest forced her to leave.

Fossey returned briefly to England twice. The first time was for four years to earn her doctorate, and the second time was in 1980 to teach and publish "Gorillas in the Mist." She returned to Africa shortly before her death in 1985. She was killed by an unknown party. Experts believe that her blatant anti-poaching activity in the area earned her many enemies. Fossey spent her time studying gorillas and fighting poachers using any methods possible. Some of these methods included public awareness campaigns and destroying traps.

Fossey's legacy kept her vision alive. Others took up her work with the gorillas under the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International that was founded after her death.