Dian Fossey - Friend to Africa's Gorillas


Dian Fossey was born

January 16, 1932

Born in San Francisco California.

Dian graduates from high school


Dian graduates from high school and begins to study veterinary science at the University of California at Davis.

Graduates from college


Dian graduates from San Jose State College with a degree in occupational therapy.

Starts work at Kosair Crippled Childrens Hospital


Dian becomes the director of occupational therapy at the Kosair Crippled Children's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

Travels to Africa


Dian travels to Africa for a seven week vacation. During the trip, she meets Dr. Louis Leakey and sees her first mountain gorillas.

Leakey askes Dian if she would like to study mountain gorillas

April 1966

April: During a visit to Louisville, Leakey asks Dian if she would like to study mountain gorillas.

Dian arrives in Africa to study

December 1966

December: Dian arrives in Africa to begin her groundbreaking studies.

Sets up first reserch camp

January 1967

January: Dian sets up her first research camp in the Congo.

Forced to leave the camp

July 1967

July: Dian is forced to leave the camp.

Founds a research center in Rwanda

September 24, 1967

September 24: Dian founds the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda.

Begins getting funded


The National Geographical Society begins funding Dian's research.

Nurses orphan gorillas back to health


Dian nurses Coco and Pucker, two orphan gorillas, back to health.

Appears on the cover of a magazine

January 1970

In January Dian appears on the cover of National Geographic magazine. A gorilla named peanuts touches Dian's hand. Dian leaves Karisoke to earn a doctorate from the university of Cambridge, in England.

Returns to Rwanda


Dian returns to live in Rwanda and take a census of the gorilla population there.

Digit is killed by poachers


Digit, one of Dian's gorillas, is killed by poachers.

Founds the Digit fund


Dian founds the Digit fund.

Begins a three year assignment


Dian begins a three year assignment as a visiting associate professor at Cornell university, in Ithaca, New York.

Gorillas in the Mist is published


Gorillas In The Mist is published. Dian travels back to Africa and Karisoke.

Murdered in her cabin

December 1985

Dian is murdered in her cabin in December.