Dian Fossey (; January 16, 1932 – c. December 26, 1985) was an American primatologist and conservationist known for undertaking an extensive study of mountain gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She studied them daily in the mountain forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work there by anthropologist Louis Leakey. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the gorillas at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. It was adapted into a 1988 film of the same name. Fossey was brutally murdered in her cabin at a remote camp in Rwanda in December 1985.
Called one of the foremost primatologists in the world, Fossey, along with Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas, were the so-called Trimates, a group of three prominent researchers on primates (Fossey on gorillas; Goodall on common chimpanzees; and Galdikas on orangutans) sent by Leakey to study great apes in their natural environments.
During her time in Rwanda, she actively supported conservation efforts and strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats. It has been theorized that her murder in 1985 was linked to her conservation efforts.
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