Encountering Dian Fossey Tomb in Volcanoes national Park Rwanda – Rwanda Safari News
Dian Fossey is great gorilla’ Champion who dedicated or gave all her life on earth to protect and conserve the world endangered species of the Mountain Gorilla by conducting an eighteen (18) year complete study about the world critically endangered apes.
Having been brought up with rejection and lack of parental love from the step father following her mother’s divorce with her father, Dian found natural love and convenience, joy with the animals. At the age of only six years old, the American zoologists started horse raiding before she later joined to work on a farm with her hospital friend after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State College in 1954.
With the financial support from Louis and Mary Leakey who were managing anthropological research in Oldvai Gorge in Tanzania, Dian forged her way into Democratic Republic of Congo where she first started her camp at Kabara to begin her research and study about the mountain gorillas in the year 1967. On July 9, 1967, armed soldiers stormed at the camp occupied by the researcher to escort her and her research employees down, and she was put behind doors in Rumangabo for period of two weeks. Dian Fossey eventually escaped from the Rumangabo through bribery to Walter Baumgärtel’s Travelers Rest Hotel situated in south western Uganda in Kisoro town, where unluckily her escort was arrested,
Depending on the substantial advice from Leakey who based in Tanzania, Dian Fossey decided not to go back to Congo and she instead connected to Rwanda were she started her research camp at a place between the two volcanoes of Mt. Karisimbi and Visoke, which was to later be known as Karisoke after amalgamating the two names, Karisimbi and Visoke mountain.
On September 24, 1967, Fossey succeeded in establishing Karisoke Research Center, a remote rainforest camp located in Ruhengeri province in the middle of two volcanoes (Visoke and Karisimbi) at an estimated altitude of about 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) up Mount Visoke and covering an area of 25 square kilometers (9.7 sq mi). Unlike the gorillas in Congo, the Rwandan mountain gorillas had never been habituated and only knew humans for poaching which made them fearful to human presence hence making it hard for Dian to study them at close range.
Dian together with her team or workers began anti-poaching vigorous campaigns and they would carry out patrols rescuing or recapturing some of the Mountain gorillas whose parents were killed during the raids. The Mountain gorillas in her study range soon got protection as those in the western side of the park where she was not reaching continued to suffer the plight. Elephants were also hunted from the same forest for their ivory until when they were almost no more.
She became famous to the locals and they Nike named her Nyirmachabelli, or Nyiramacibiri, that was literally translated as “the woman who lives alone on the mountain’. Her work was fruitful and not so long, she found favor and peace with the mountain gorillas where she befriended silver back identified as digit. The death of Digit in 1978 was a big blow in Dian’s heart after digit was short as he was trying to protect a baby gorilla called Kweli from poachers.
Digit was laid to rest at Karisoke Research center and Dian’s patrol efforts were energized as she attracted public sympathy and started receiving assistance from international society through international bodies such as, the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife foundation, Fauna Preservation Society and the Mountain Gorilla Project, which Dian Fossey accused for not actively engaging or participating in conservation through anti-poaching patrols.
Dian Fossey’s anti-poaching patrols resulted to the arrest of many poachers who were later pushed behind the bars and up to date some are still serving their sentences. In the year 1985, the famous Dian was murdered/killed in her tent at the research institute by unidentified murders where she was got lying in a pool of blood in the early morning of December 27, 1985.
The famous Zoologists Dian Fossey is buried at Karisoke, in a site that she had established for her gorilla friends that were killed. She was buried in the gorilla graveyard next to Digit, and near many gorillas that were killed by the local poachers.
Rwanda Safaris/Rwanda Safari News
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