historical figures in evolution

Evolution After Darwin: Dian Fossey


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Dian Fossey (1932-1985)

Fossey was an American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist who devoted her life to studying the mountain gorillas. With support from the British archeologist Louis Leakey, she went initially to the Congo and then to Rwanda to study those gorillas that live in the Virunga Mountains. She fought incessantly against poachers and illegal traffickers of gorillas. Unfortunately, she was murdered with a machete in her home in the mountains. No one ever knew for sure what had happened, but it has always suspected that the murderers were the same hunters she was always pursuing. In her memory, there exists a Dian Fossey Foundation, an institution that is dedicated to continuing the study of apes and protect them from possible extinction.

Although she always opposed that type of tourism that travels to observe and photograph wildlife, her foundation promotes eco and animal-friendly tourism and has turned many individuals who were once gorilla poachers into rangers, guards, and tourist guides for those visiting these apes. Along with Jane Goodall and Biruté Galdikas, Fossey is considered one of the three experts who study one of the closest ape species to humans.

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