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Dian Fossey: American zoologist’s 82nd birthday celebrated with Google Doodle

  • @kashmiragander

Google has celebrated the 82nd birthday of late American zoologist Dian Fossey with a Doodle on its search page.

The image features a group of gorillas, with one touching Dian Fossey’s hair while she makes notes.

A US zoologist, Fossey studied gorillas living in the mountain forests of Rwanda, Africa, in great depth over a period of 18 years.

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.

During a six-week sabbatical in Africa in 1963, Fossey met Dr Louis Leakey, a renowned paleoanthropologist and archaeologist, who alerted her to the lack of research on great apes.

By 1966, she had won funding from the National Geographic Society and the Wilkie Brothers’ Foundation to begin a research project in the Congo.  The political turmoil at the time saw her move the study to Rwanda.

In 1967, she founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda's Parc National des Volcans.

Fossey died in 1985 when she was killed in her cabin in Karisoke. The Digit Fund, which she created to finance her anti-poaching patrols, was renamed the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International following her death.

The Fund’s projects continue to protect gorillas in Africa from poaching.

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