If there is one person who deserves to be credited for making the world aware of gorillas and the troubles they face, it is Dian Fossey. Without Dian’s unfounded energy for the Mountain gorillas of central Africa, we might be living in a world where these magnificent animals no longer exist.
Dian lived among the Mountain gorillas of the Virunga Volcanoes for nearly twenty years. She dedicated her life to them and died trying to protect them. She developed an extraordinary bond with the gorillas she encountered, who accepted her into their lives and allowed her to experience their threatened existence. She saw their future slipping away due to uncontrolled poaching, and she made it her mission to bring the world’s attention to the plight of the last remaining Mountain gorillas.
In 1978, Dian Fossey established the Digit Fund, named after one of her favourite gorillas, Digit, who was brutally murdered in 1978 by poachers. With a mission of protectingthe last remaining Mountain gorillas from illegal hunters, the Digit Fund financed the first ever ranger patrols, and marked the beginning of a journey that would see gorilla conservation evolve with the changing political and environmental demands of Africa.
Gorillas in the Mist, Dian Fossey's own account of her life with the gorillas, was published in 1983. It was picked up by Hollywood and became a box office hit in 1987.