Dian Fossey Google Doodle Honors Gorilla Researcher

By Laura Dattaro
Published: January 16, 2014

Today's Google doodle honors Dian Fossey, who studied gorillas in Africa until she was murdered in 1985. (Google)

Dian Fossey, an American zoologist who spent nearly 20 years studying mountain gorillas in Africa, is honored in today’s Google doodle. She would have been 82.

Fossey, born on Jan. 16, 1932 in San Francisco, first traveled to Africa in 1963 for a six-week sabbatical, according to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. In 1966, she began a research program on gorillas in the Congo, but was forced to leave due to political strife. She founded a research center in Rwanda in 1967, where she remained to study and protect gorillas until 1985, when she was murdered in her cabin. The case is still open, The Guardian reports.

Fossey experienced the first recorded peaceful contact between gorillas and humans when a wild adult male named Peanuts reached out and touched her hand. She started The Gorilla Fund, originally called The Digit Fund, when poachers killed a young male she had named Digit in 1977. The fund raises money to protect and study gorillas and their habitats in Africa.

MORE: New Gorilla Arrives at London Zoo

Kumbuka, a 15-year-old western lowland gorilla, explores his new enclosure at the ZSL London Zoo on May 2, 2013. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)


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