Dian Fossey’s Change Maker Lifestyle
Writers Workshop 8E
Dian Fossey is a woman who had dedicated her entire life to helping gorillas live in the wild unharmed. She is a role model change maker because she helped change how people looked at gorillas, turning them from violent animals to gentle giants, she fought to save the gorillas from their habitat being destroyed and prevent them from being hunted, and founded the Karisoke Research Center that is still in operation today.
Dian Fossey was born on January 16, 1932, in San Francisco, CA. Her parents divorced when she was young so she grew up with her mother and stepfather. She was an amazing student and was very interested in animals at a young age. When she was six, she began to take horseback riding lessons, and when she entered high school, she earned a letter on the riding team. She took college courses at Marin Junior College and decided to focus on business like her stepfather, who was a wealthy businessman. She worked on a ranch in Montana during her breaks in college when she was 19 and in freshman year. While working at the ranch, she fell in love with, and became very attached to, the animals that lived there. Later, she was forced to leave when she became ill with chickenpox. Working on a ranch inspired her to return to college as a pe-veterinary student at the University of California. She found chemistry and physics courses challenging and decided to focus on getting a degree in occupational therapy at San Jose College where she graduated in 1954.
Before Dian’s work, gorillas had a bad reputation. They were known to humans as treacherous monsters that would attack someone at first glance. She dedicated her life to getting rid of this theory and turning it into how it really was, that gorillas are more like us then we know and they are actually gentle creatures. She travelled to Africa after her friend had been there and had loved it. There, she lived beside mountain gorillas in the forests of Rwanda. During her trip to Africa, she proved a myth wrong, saying that gorillas have individual personalities and are very social with one another.
Dian Fossey decided to save the gorillas habitats in the 1960s when there was a population of about 475 mountain gorillas in Uganda. Once the 1980s hit, the population dropped to about 254 individuals due to poaching and habitat loss. Dian was fixed on helping the remaining mountain gorillas before they disappeared. To get close the the gorillas, she started to imitate their movements and behavior in their habitat. She would even beat her chest with fists to copy their calls. Dian’s patience paid off and the gorillas began to trust her to the point where she could observe them undisturbed. This meant that she would be able to write down facts and research in more detail that would result in helping them and their habitats.
Dian Fossey is a role model change maker because she is the founder of very large organization called the Karisoke Research Center. The Karisoke Research Center has a website that allows you to look at research on gorillas that Dian Fossey herself, had found out. She founded the Karisoke Research Center on September, 24, 1967 and is still running today! She started the gorilla research center by setting up two small tents on September 24, 1967 in Rwanda’s Virunga Mountains. The camp was located between Mt. Karisimbi and Mt. Visoke, creating the name “Karisoke” from the two mountains. At the time that she created the organization, she was afraid of the mountain gorillas becoming extinct by the end of the 20th century.
In conclusion, Dian Fossey is a role model change maker for a few different reasons. Them being that she, changed people intake and views on gorillas forever. She also fought for the lives of creatures that weren't even her own species by saving their habitats. The last reason she is a role model change maker is because she decided to found a whole organization on her own. The Karisoke Research Center is also still up and running today!
Dian Fossey Biography. February 27, 2018. A&E Television Networks. March 5, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/dian-fossey-9299545