Google Doodle honors famed zoologist Dian Fossey

Best known for her study of endangered gorillas in Africa, the late Fossey would've turned 82 years old on Thursday.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Dian Fossey is the latest person to be honored by a Google Doodle.

Born in San Francisco on January 16, 1932, Fossey became famous, and to some people infamous, for her efforts to protect gorillas in Africa from poachers. First traveling to Africa in the early 1960s, she was eventually introduced to mountain gorillas by famed anthropologist Louis Leakey. Fossey lived among the gorillas in the Congo in the midst of a civil war before she was finally forced to leave the area.

Fossey later started the Digit Fund in memory of her favorite gorilla, Digit, who was killed and decapitated by poachers. Now known as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the fund is dedicated to rescuing orphaned gorillas in the Congo and protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda.

Fossey documented her work in the 1982 autobiography "Gorillas in the Mist," a story that was made into a 1998 film starring Sigourney Weaver.

Sadly, Fossey's life came to a tragic end on December 26, 1985, when her body was found hacked to death by a machete. No one was ever arrested for her murder, but the common belief is that she was killed by poachers. Her body was buried in a gorilla graveyard.