She left home for college and never returned except for brief visits. Fossey began studying veterinary science at the University of California, but she transferred to San Jose State College and switched majors to occupational therapy. She graduated in 1954 and moved 2,000 miles from her mother, taking a job working with autistic children at a Shriners' hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
Through her work she became acquainted with doctors and their wives, and through those contacts she developed an active social life in Louisville, cavorting with men from the city's social register.
Among her suitors were two brothers, Franz and Alexie Forrester, scions of a Rhodesian family with royal Austrian roots. In part through their influence, Fossey became smitten by Africa. By 1960 Fossey was obsessed with the idea of going on safari.
One problem: She had no money, and the month-long trip would cost $5,000 — more than a full year's salary. Franz Forrester offered a solution. He proposed marriage, promising a safari honeymoon. But Fossey was not ready to settle down. Instead, she saved every penny for two years, and then took a loan against future income to raise the money for her safari. She departed Sept. 26, 1963.
Fossey insisted that her guide take her to Olduvai Gorge in Serengeti National Park, the center of Louis Leakey's famous archaeological research. Leakey was among the world's most famous scientists in 1963, and Fossey was determined to meet him.
Leakey proved to be quite accommodating, as he generally was with attractive young women. They had a long visit, and Leakey encouraged Fossey to go north to observe the rare mountain gorillas that lived at the border lands of Rwanda, Uganda and... [continues]
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