August 29, 2023 | Bujo Safaris
Born in San Francisco, California in the United States on 16th January in 1932 and died in December 1985 in Rwanda, Dian Fossey was an American wildlife researcher, zoologist and one of the most renowned and recognized primatologists of the 20th century. Many believe that she might have been killed by the angry poachers and a tomb site was dedicated for her life to conserve mountain gorillas away from poachers.
This lady was also locally known as “Nyiramacibiri” and was buried in Karisoke in gorillas’ graveyard, Virunga next to many of her primate research work and a site that she had constructed for her deceased gorilla friends and the many gorillas that were killed by poachers.
In fact, most people believe that the number of gorillas surviving today wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the tremendous work of Dian, the famous American zoologist spent almost the huge part of her life saving and fighting for the survival of these Apes. She spent an enormous time at a research station that was famously known as the Karisoke research station in Virunga region situated between Mountain Bisoke and Mountain Karisimbi in Rwanda.
In here, she highly advocated for the anti-poaching policy for the gorillas were rapidly reducing in number claiming no one had a right to poach these comely apes. In fact, she learned and widely made research about Mountain gorillas from way back in 1967 before her murder. She taught and revealed more of the unknown knowledge about these mountain gorillas especially from their natural habitats to the world. It is because of her remarkable efforts and work that since then there has been reduction in poaching of gorillas especially in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
Her highly recognized work is how she made gorilla habituation possible. This was very hard before and gorillas were absolutely unfriendly with humans and both feared each other, this was a result of poaching so gorillas used to see people as enemies who come to take lives and nothing good from them. When Dian came in, she reconnected this bond and made the presence of humans with gorillas possible.
After her invitation to study about gorilla mountains by the prominent paleo anthropologist Dr. Leakey, Dian switched from a mission of her own which was research to conservation and protection of these Mountain gorillas. She developed genuine love towards these apes at heart. Since then the number of Mountain gorillas has actually been increasing through her efforts.
HIKING THE DIAN FOSSEY’S TOMB.
Travelers from all over the world who come for Rwandan Safari also come to Volcanoes National Park to take a hike up to see Dian Fossey’s tomb. The hike takes about two to three hours and will give visitors an insight about Dian’s great work and research. While on the interesting and informative hike, visitors will also get a chance to sight some mountain gorillas of Virunga, rare bird species, beautiful lush vegetation, antelopes, buffaloes, elephants, golden monkeys and stunning views of Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.
The hike activity at the Dian Fossey’s tomb kicks off in the morning hours as early as 8:00 am at the offices of the park at Kinigi with a briefing after which is followed by a drive of about 30 minutes up to the starting point where visitors will meet park rangers to guide them through the hike. Park rangers are always allowed to be armed to protect the visitors from the wild animals and poachers.
The mountain Bisoke trail can be used for hiking and later after around 2 to 3 kilometers travelers shall be advised to branch off to Dian's trail till up where they will sight her grave alongside other graveyards of her most loved gorillas that she died protecting. Other buildings in the surrounding area where she was murdered look old and abandoned but safe.
Dian’s work was truly inspiring and an interesting one in fact it challenges most of the travelers to develop genuine love not to a fellow human but to gorillas and most importantly protecting them.