Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and National Geographic

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Dian Fossey’s work, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund worked closely with National Geographic over the past year to create the three-part series “Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist.” This included extended filming with our staff in Rwanda and the gorilla groups we monitor today, as well as delving into Fossey’s historical photos and journals. And, our honorary chair, Sigourney Weaver, also played a big role, by voicing excerpts from Fossey’s writings.

Official Trailer

Watch Online

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist is now available for purchase and streaming online at Amazon.com.

Click here to stream

 National Geographic Air Dates (International)

United Kingdom – 12/06/2017 21:00
France – 12/03/2017 20:40
Australia – 12/14/2017 20:30
Canada – 12/06/2017 21:00
Germany – 12/03/2017 21:00
Italy – 12/18/2017 21:55
Brazil – 01/14/2018 20:30
Spain – 12/12/2017 22:50
Switzerland – For the German feed 12/03/2017 21:00, for the Italian feed 12/18/2017 21:55
Belgium – 12/03/2017 22:30
Netherlands – 12/03/2017 22:30
New Zealand – 12/14/2017 20:30
Finland – 12/03/2017 21:00
Sweden – 12/03/2017 21:00
Ireland – 12/04/2017 21:00
Austria – 12/03/2017 21:00
Israel – 12/02/2017 18:00
India – 12/07/2017 21:00
Mexico – 01/01/2018 22:00
Japan – 03/06/2018 22:00


Learn about Dian Fossey

Get involved with the Fossey Fund

Digit and Dian Fossey’s Historic Gorillas

National Geographic magazine article featuring Dian Fossey

Media Coverage

PBS News Hour – “Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall changed how we saw primates. These new movies change how we see them”

Star Talk – “No One Loved Gorillas More: Dian Fossey’s Life, Tragic Death, and Her Unparalleled Love of Gorillas in Nat Geo’s “Secrets in the Mist”

Entertainment Weekly – “Sigourney Weaver on playing gorilla researcher Dian Fossey — twice”

Discover Magazine – Interview with Fossey Fund CEO Dr. Tara Stoinski

Adopt Dian Fossey’s Favorite Gorilla: Digit

Named as one of Time Magazine’s 15 most influential animals, Digit was Dian’s favorite mountain gorilla, and they shared a special bond. In 1977, Digit was brutally murdered by poachers – a story made famous by the film “Gorillas in the Mist.” Dian often referred to him as her “beloved Digit,” and it is in his memory that she founded the Digit Fund for gorilla protection. After her own murder in 1985, Dian was buried in the forest next to her favorite great ape and their legacy lives on through our work today.

Adopt Digit now

Fossey Fund and Gorilla Facts

-In 1967 Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center to observe the little-known endangered mountain gorillas.

-At the time Dian began her work, she felt that mountain gorillas would be extinct by the end of the century.

-The Fossey Fund’s collection of data on gorillas, which was started by Dian, remains the largest and oldest of its kind in the world.

-We share approximately 98 percent of our DNA with gorillas.

-There are two species and four subspecies of gorilla.  All types of gorillas are critically endangered, which means they have an extremely high risk of extinction.

-The Fossey Fund studies and protects eastern gorillas, which include mountain gorillas of Rwanda (those Dian studied) and Grauer’s gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

-There are only 1004 mountain gorillas left in the wild. To put that in perspective, there are approximately 10,000 red pandas, 15,000 blue whales, 415,000 African elephants, and 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild.

-There are fewer than 4,000 Grauer’s gorillas estimated to be remaining. Found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are the only African great ape on the list of the world’s 25 most-endangered primates. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of this population has died off in the last two decades.

-The Fossey Fund is dedicated to the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. Our successful, integrated approach includes close collaboration with local communities as well as partners from around the world.

-Gorillas in both Rwanda and Congo still face a variety of daily threats, including: armed conflict, lack of space which increases the risk of violent interactions, disease, illegal poaching, and habitat loss caused by climate change and human demand for farmland, minerals, and charcoal.

-Our tagline is “Helping People. Saving Gorillas” because we know that conservation cannot be done in isolation. That’s why the Fossey Fund works in four areas to build upon Dian’s intense, integrated model of conservation:

  • Daily gorilla protection – To ensure that gorilla populations are stable through intensive presence in the forest every single day
  • Scientific research – To have the best information available for use in preserving the gorillas and their ecosystems
  • Educating conservationists – To equip the next generation of African scientists with the skills they need to address the conservation challenges of the future
  • Helping communities – To create the basic conditions necessary to support effective conservation activities where they are most needed
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