Celebrating Dian Fossey’s Conservation Work 30 Years After Her Death

Dian Fossey was an American zoologist researcher who had dedicated her life to the endangered mountain gorillas some of the closest wild animals to human beings. She first lived in the Congo forests but due to insecurity she shifted and established her research center at Karisoke (between mount Karisimbi and mount Bisoke) where she greatly catered for the mountain gorillas until she was murdered in 1985. Dian Fossey gorilla Conservation in Rwanda For a long time, poachers would lay traps in the forest to kill wild animals like antelopes and forest duikers but end up trapping and injuring mountain gorillas. Infectious diseases were also killing mountain gorillas while others were killed in the endless civil wars where mountain gorilla habitants were used as fighting grounds. When Dian established her research center at Karisoke, she started fighting and protecting the lives of the mountain gorillas, which sent a great conservation message especially to the local people who were living in the surrounding communities. She showed a great example and her efforts were not wasted as up to today her conservation works are still celebrated because of the following reasons;

Increase In The Mountain Gorilla Population

This was among what she fought hard for and it’s so unfortunate to see that she is no longer around to see the great increase in the mountain gorilla population. Back in the day, there were only about 250 mountain gorillas in the Virunga massif but today their population has greatly increased and it’s currently estimated to be at 480 which Is half of the mountain gorilla population remaining in the world.
The increase in the mountain gorilla population has greatly boosted mountain gorilla tourism as today tourists from different parts of the world head to Rwanda’s volcanoes national park to encounter the mountain gorillas in their natural forested homes.
Volcanoes national park currently has half of the total mountain gorilla population in the Virunga area with 10 habituated mountain gorilla families each being tracked by a group of 8 tourists a day.

Continuation Of Her Work

There is no way the great works of Dian Fossey could just be forgotten anyhow. She pioneered mountain gorilla conservation and today the legacy she set is still being followed with the help from the Rwandan government. Today, Karisoke research center employs over 100 local Rwandese and the center has done a lot in spreading the conservation message. Some of the local people at the research center closely work with the government and do a lot of coordination. The Karisoke research center has over the years played a major role in mountain gorilla habituation and monitoring. Monitoring mountain gorillas has helped a lot in keeping track of the newly born and attending to those that need medical assistance. All these have paved way for mountain gorilla population increase.

Creating More Opportunity For Knowledge

Dian Fossey laid a foundation for spreading conservation knowledge and today Karisoke center acts a base for mountain gorilla conservation. At the center, researchers are trained and the center has even expanded to DRC to ensure conservation of the Grauer gorillas (lowland gorillas).

Providing Opportunity For Others

Dian Fossey provided great opportunity and a chance to life especially to the mountain gorillas that could have had chance amidst a lot of poaching and the political unrest that was going in Rwanda. Dian also provided an opportunity for many other conservationists who could not stand out for themselves. All these successes are greatly appreciated and celebrated 30 years after Dian Fossey’s death and we shall truly never forget her great efforts and dedication.

Tourists interested in learning more about this true legend can go for the Dian Fossey hike in volcanoes national park and even reach to her grave where she was buried near her favorite gorilla Digit.

Posted in Safari News.