Dian Fossey the incredible story of the famous gorilla researcher

(ORDO NEWS) — The most famous researcher of gorillas, Fossey herself considered herself a champion of their rights and lives. And she died like a warrior – on her front line. Having won only after death.

Three of them were called Leakey’s angels: Diane, Jane and Birute. Louis Leakey was a famous anthropologist and archaeologist.

The angels were three young women whom he sent to study the apes, which looked so much like humans. Jane got chimpanzees, Birute got orangutans, Diane got gorillas. Each of them became famous. But Diane, this fame cost her life. However, she was ready for it.

When Louis and Mary – his wife and colleague – met Diane, she was far from Africa, and from gorillas, and from zoology in her work. Fossey was a coach – she was engaged in the rehabilitation of children with autism.

By the way, this surprised many – Diane had a difficult, quick-tempered character, she was prone to depression and to washing down depression with something alcohol. However, with children with autism, she instantly found contact, was amazingly patient and always friendly. Like there were two different Fossies.

And Diane was also at the ideal age of thirty-four. “You are young, full of energy,” Leakey reasoned, “and at the same time experienced, wise in life. This is the best age for expeditions.”

Diane faced a choice. She could only say yes to one man: either Louis Leakey, or her fiancé, who flatly refused to go with her to the African jungle. Science or family? Glory or love?

No one knows if Fossey’s choice was hard or easy. She was already in love with gorillas in absentia – after she read the book of Schaller, a researcher of rare species of large mammals. Two loves clashed, and in the end, the one for science won.

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Diana, Princess of the Amazons

When Diane was nine years old, the first Wonder Woman comic, Princess Diana of the Amazons, came out in the US. If Fossey read it, she probably found a lot in common with the heroine. Diane has always been an Amazon, a fighting female unit, an army in itself.

She did not have a relationship with her parents. Her mother, a former runway model known as Kitty, divorced Diane’s father when she was six and married a wealthy entrepreneur. As a result, Diane’s relationship was strained with her mother, father, and stepfather.

The outlet was the horses on which Fossey rode – she was a student at an equestrian school. The mother wrote her there after the divorce, thinking to soften the period of life that was unpleasant for the child.

The love of horses seriously influenced Diane – she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Her stepfather strongly disapproved of her plans and tried to insist that Fossey go to college for a business-related course – perhaps he hoped to involve her in the family business. But it was impossible to overstubborn the Amazon Diane. She did it her way.

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Alas, in college it turned out that neither physics nor chemistry were given to her. In addition, her mother and stepfather stopped supporting her – either not having the opportunity, or wanting to punish her for disobedience.

Diane had to transfer to a course where they trained trainers in ergotherapy, and earn extra money here and there.

After Fossey College, it was not immediately possible to find a suitable place. At first she worked with tuberculosis patients, but then, finally, she got a job in a clinic where classes were held on the rehabilitation of children with autism.

She seemed to have found her place. The issue of housing was also resolved simply: in exchange for taking care of the cattle, the administrator of the clinic, Mary Henry, and her husband, doctor Michael Henry, invited Diane to live with them on the farm. And after all the work, there was still time to ride!

Despite the strange lifestyle, quick-tempered nature and high demands on the guys, Diane always lacked their attention. From her mother, she inherited model height and an attractive appearance, which she did not even have to emphasize with makeup: the guys were sinking without it.

From one of her suitors, from Rhodesia, she learned about life in Africa and its extraordinary animals. After his stories, she bought Schaller’s book. Leakey, who is concerned about the future of science, is only half a step away from falling into the net.

Built for primatology

Diane’s impression on people has always been strong, but usually specific. The same thing happened to the Lika spouses.

Taking out a huge loan to get to Africa, Diane appeared before the eyes of a famous couple of anthropologists, only to immediately fall, break her leg and, in pain, empty her stomach of the contents right on the fossils that Leakey had to work with.

Among other things, Diane no doubt won Luis’s heart when, after a leg treatment, she asked to be taken to see the mountain gorillas. Fracture? Nonsense, you can take a stick to lean on. He realized that she was what he was looking for, one of his future scientific daughters.

True, having sent Diane to the jungle, Leakey, as always with his angels, did not follow, although his foundation sponsored Fossey’s work until the death of Louis. It was Lika’s job to instruct and let him out into the big world.

He had a beloved Mary to work with. In the end, he can’t burst to be near Jane Goodall and her chimps, and near Birute Galdikas with orangutans, and in the mountains next to Fossey and gorillas at the same time. They were big girls. They had to manage.

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In order to get close to the mountain gorillas, of which there were only five thousand in all of Africa at that time, Diane set up a tent on the slope of an active volcano and went to repeat after Schaller.

He quickly discovered that if you behave like a low-status gorilla, other gorillas will very quickly stop being anxious and become friendly.

So Diane behaved like a gorilla: she walked on all fours, did not look the monkeys in the eyes for more than a second, and even rubbed the same grass with her jaws. Politeness and adequate behavior are valued not only by people.

During the day, Fossey wandered with the monkeys, carefully recorded observations at night, and slept a little at dawn. So several years passed, which made her the largest researcher of mountain gorillas.

In the eyes of people, gorillas appeared as bloodthirsty, aggressive creatures. And when they saw a man with a “stick” (a spear or a gun), the main male of the pack really behaved aggressively.

After all, his task was, in case of danger, to engage the killer people in a fight while the tribe was saved. So later, Fossey’s favorite male Digit will die, having redeemed thirteen lives of his relatives with his life.

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Poachers fueled hostility to gorillas. According to them, the gorillas stole children to be devoured, women to rape, and men were torn to pieces. Moreover, the opposite regularly happened: poachers hunted down a family of gorillas to take the cubs for sale in European zoos.

These kids cost fabulous money. But relatives did not want to give them away, so the poachers killed all the adult flocks. Souvenirs for tourists were then made from heads and hands, and the rest of the meat was eaten.

The gorillas themselves never ate human children. Unlike chimpanzees, they were vegetarians. In addition, in their pack, aggression was not the norm.

For the most part, the monkeys communicated with each other in a friendly way, and they had mechanisms for accepting other monkeys into the family.

From time to time, Diane tried to talk about this in her lectures and publications – when she returned to America to receive medical treatment. She had weak lungs and suffered greatly from the jungle air. In addition, sometimes the question arose of extending the permit to be in Rwanda.

Although, except for Lika and his angels, no one could understand why they needed to be there: all the officials that Fossey encountered tried to persuade her to stay at home, and not go “to this hell.”

Diane the Warrior

In ancient mythology, Diana-Artemis is not only a huntress, devoid of attraction to men. She is the mother and mistress of animals, their protector. If the beasts know how to pray, then, without a doubt, they pray to Diana.

Diane didn’t go by her name for nothing. Numerous romances with men ended in nothing – no one agreed to live with Fossey in a lonely hut on the slope of a volcano.

Delighted in babysitting the gorilla’s children, Diane herself had an abortion when it was discovered that her lover had been careless. And, most importantly, realizing that before her eyes the population of mountain gorillas was halved, Diane entered the battle for their survival.

From that moment on, she was surrounded by enemies. The peasants, who tried to expand the pastures at the expense of the reserve, where the gorillas lived, hated her: she shot at the cows and burned the huts of the shepherds.

Officials who tried to make money from the gorillas in the reserve by arranging tours faced fierce resistance from Fossey: she even shot in the air over the heads of overly curious tourists.

Honest hunters were furious to find that she had destroyed the antelope traps because they caught gorillas too. What can we say about the poachers, with whom she fought not for life, but for death.

The history of this struggle is very long and bloody. It ended in the terrible death of Diane in her own home: her head was cut open with her own knife for cutting thickets. And victory for Diane. Because the murder finally brought the gorillas to the attention of the whole world.

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Many years later, a star, Sigourney Weaver, starred in the movie as Fossey. Meanwhile, the mountain gorilla population had grown from two hundred and fifty individuals to nearly a thousand. But first Diane was buried.

Near her friend Dijit: she once buried him as a man. On the tombstone was carved her name in Rwandan – Nuarmachabele.

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