Google has celebrated the 82nd birthday of late American zoologist Dian Fossey with a Doodle on its search page.
Dian Fossey was an American zoologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. She was initially encouraged to work there by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey.
Her extensive research greatly enriched the scientific community’s understanding of mountain gorillas.
As a child, Fossey dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. After studying the subject at San Jose State College, on the US west coast, she changed her major to occupational therapy. During this time she became more interested in Africa, and retained her interest in animals.
Fossey later started the Digit Fund in memory of her favorite gorilla, Digit, who was killed and decapitated by poachers. Now known as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the fund is dedicated to rescuing orphaned gorillas in the Congo and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
Fossey documented her work in the 1982 autobiography “Gorillas in the Mist,” a story that was made into a 1998 film starring Sigourney Weaver.
Sadly, Fossey’s life came to a tragic end on December 26, 1985, when her body was found hacked to death by a machete. No one was ever arrested for her murder, but the common belief is that she was killed by poachers. Her body was buried in a gorilla graveyard.