Dian Fossey was an American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist who was known for her extensive study on mountain gorillas. She observed gorillas for 18 years in Rwanda and was staunchly against poaching - something that gained her many enemies. She lived among the gorillas, developed a tight bond with them, and dedicated her entire life to attempting to protect them.
Sadly, she was brutally murdered on 27 December, 1985. She was discovered in the bedroom of her cabin which was located in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. She had been bludgeoned and chopped to death with a machete; many believe by poachers she had been tracking. The case remains unsolved.
RWANDA, SABYINYO : A baby mountain Gorilla, member of the Agashya family, is pictured in the Sabyinyo Mountains of Rwanda on December 27, 2014. Rwanda, well known for mountain gorillas – an endangered species found only in the border areas between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and hosted more than a million visitors between 2006-13, generating from the national parks alone $75m (£44m) in tourism revenue in that time; 85% of this is from trekkers who come to see some of the country’s 500 gorillas. AFP PHOTO / Ivan LIEMAN
MOUNTAIN GORILLA: There are few sights in the animal kingdom more terrifying than an ill-tempered gorilla. Twice the size of its female counterpart, a full-grown male silverback gorilla typically packs between 450 and 500 pounds of weight into a five-to-six-foot frame. It’s called a silverback because of a gray or silver-colored patch of hair that develops on its back when it reaches maturity. The silverback leads the group on daily treks for food — seasonal vegetation, such as bamboo, nettles, celery and thistles — and protects it from outside dangers, like other silverbacks. When confronted, it will stand on its hind legs and beat its well-muscled chest, which can span nearly five feet across. Only the most powerful silverbacks gain breeding rights. Mountain gorillas live in the Virunga Mountains — a chain of volcanoes along the northern border of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo — and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. There are only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, split between the two regions. War, human disease, habitat loss and poaching threatens their survival.