DIGIT GORILLA- ONCE THE BEST FRIEND OF DIAN FOSSEY
At the age of two years, Dian Fossey first observed Digit gorilla on mountain Visoke. In 1967, Dian saw Digit gorilla when it was two years old – he was playful and active in group 4. Digit was observed by Dian for over ten years, and she came to see him as nearly human hence making him one of her best friends. Digit was the first habituated mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park by Dian Fossey. At the age of 6 years, Digit encountered his first sexual intercourse.
In 1976, at the age of 11, Digit became a silver back. This brought fear to Dian, because she knew that silver backs would defend their family group to the death. When Digit became a silver back, he was made a watchdog for Group 4. His job was to stay on the periphery of the group, assisting the dominant silver back in the protection of the other group members.
On December 31, 1977, Ian Redmond (researchers at karisoke) found the slain body of Digit was found. His head and hands were chopped off, and he had six spear wounds to his body. In the struggle of defending other group members, Digit costed his life as he was attacked by the group of poachers with dogs.
In the struggle, Digit also did his best by killing one of the poachers’ dogs. After Dian viewed Digit's mutilated body, she wrote: "I cannot allow myself to think of his anguish, his pain, and the total incomprehension he suffered of knowing what humans were doing to him."
After Digit's murder, he buried in the gorilla graveyard of Karisoke research station- the same place where Dian Fossey was also buried in 1985 after being murdered.
The death of Digit resulted into the introduction of Digit Fund to help handle the contributions that were pouring in as a result of Digit's death. Then, after the death of Dian Fossey, Digit Fund was changed to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.