Dian Fossey was a National Geographic Explorer who devoted 20 years of her life — and may have indeed forfeited her life — to the conservation of Africa’s rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Inspired by Jane Goodall and Louis Leakey, Fossey observed at close quarters the mountain gorillas of Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains from 1966 until she was murdered in 1985. Her death remains a mystery, but it was suspected that it might have been the work of gorilla poachers. She was buried in the mountains, alongside the remains of several gorillas killed by poachers.
January 1970 National Geographic Magazine feature: Making Friends With Mountain Gorillas
A book Fossey wrote about her work, Gorillas in the Mist (published in 1983), was adapted into a 1988 movie of the same name, starring Sigourney Weaver. In December 2017, Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist, a three-hour series, aired on the National Geographic Channel. Find out more.
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist | National Geographic
Mountain Gorillas’ Survival: Dian Fossey’s Legacy Lives On | Short Film Showcase
How One Orphaned Gorilla Inspired Her to Save Hundreds More | National Geographic
Top image photograph by Robert I.M. Campbell