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Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey was an American zoologist who spent almost her entire life. At a remote camp high up on the slopes of the Virungas studying the mountain gorillas. Born in 1932, Dian Fossey spent most of her life studying the mountain gorillas extensively in their natural habitat and at her Karisoke Research center. Which is located between Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi in Rwanda.

She dedicated 18 years of her life to studying and protecting the mountain gorillas in Africa. She made her home in the Virunga ranges of volcanoes that straddles the borders of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda.

Had it not been for her powerful efforts to have poaching stamped out and the work of committed locals since her violent murder. There possibly wouldn’t be any of the great apes remaining in Rwanda. Dian Fossey made the World more aware about the mountain gorillas and advocated for their protection against extensive poaching. Believed that without her efforts. Mountain gorillas would have been extinct or their numbers would have drastically reduced.

Dian Fossey played an important role in the history of the mountain gorillas and ensured that she saved them from extinction. She flee from the Congo forest in the 1960’s and established a gorilla research center but later killed and buried near the grave of her favorite gorilla “Digit.”

Many guides say that the Gorilla trek in volcanoes national park is a pilgrimage people walk due to their desire to pay tribute to the great works that she did. She left San Francisco in 1963 for East Africa to discover more about mountain gorillas. She first did her research in Congo. But  later forced to move to Rwanda due to the instability in Congo at that time. After establishing her research center in Rwanda, commonly referred to as “Nyiramacibiri” . By the local Rwandese around the area which meant ‘a woman who lives alone in the mountain’.

The Dian Fossey legacy still lives and works  clearly seen in the increase in the gorilla population in the area. The research center she started today employs over 120 people.


Dian Fossey Museum

The  museum is located in Musanze just outside Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Founded by Karisoke Research Center. This research center  initially operated by Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. The research center & gorilla fund were founded in remembrance of Dian Fossey. The museum offers interactive look at gorilla conservation.

This gorilla museum, there are several photographs, historic objects, information and various interactive activities about mountain gorilla conservation and protection. The museum offers an insight into Rwanda’s mountain gorilla conservation and protection success story. It is also referred to as the Karisoke Exhibit, a perfect area where enthusiastic primate travelers can get facts about the success story of gorilla protection and conservation.

The exhibit center is one area you should consider a must-visit after or before gorilla trekking. It was founded to help extend Dian Fossey Fund conservation and education initiatives. To students and communities adjacent to the park.