Madagascar Comes to Brookhaven

Jul 8, 2020 | Animal Ambassadors, Nature Center

There is a place almost all the way around to the other side of Earth that needs our help. That place is over 9,000 miles away and is Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. Madagascar is a large island Republic just to the east of Africa. If you saw the cartoon movie Madagascar, you might recall the special little animal that lives in Madagascar. Madagascar is the only place in the world where lemurs live in the wild. In the movie, Madagascar, all of the different species of lemurs lived together and formed their own society, which was really cute but not real. In reality, that is not how lemurs live. Some lemurs are social and live in groups of their own species, while a few other species are solitary and live by themselves The different species have adapted to live in various areas around Madagascar, including rainforests, dry forests, and rocky areas. Lemurs have evolved into species of various sizes and behaviors. Some are diurnal which means they are awake during the day and others are nocturnal which means they are awake during the night. Although there are about 105 different species of lemurs, many are endangered and at risk of becoming extinct in the near future.

Dr. Patricia Wright, a scientist at Stony Brook University, has dedicated much of her life to this special place and the animals, plants, and people that live there. Dr. Wright fell in love with lemurs early in her career and has spent many hours researching and studying everything about them. In fact, she rediscovered a species of lemur that others thought was extinct. Since Dr. Wright started her research at Ranomafana, she and her team were integral in creating Ranomafana National Park, a park that is home to several critically endangered species of lemurs. They have helped the economy in the communities around the park by creating jobs at the Centre ValBio, the research center. Centre ValBio also helps the communities by reducing slash and burn techniques, promoting reforestation, educating communities on sustainable farming methods, and providing resources for health and hygiene.

Every year, students at Stony Brook University are selected to travel and work with Dr. Wright in Madagascar and Centre ValBio has become a special place for the university to promote conservation education and outreach. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, all flights have stopped going in and out of Madagascar. In some ways this is good by keeping the virus away from the fragile communities, but in many ways this is devastating. Many people and communities in Madagascar depend on tourism, and without tourists many are without jobs. If you would like to learn more about Lemurs in Madagascar and Dr. Patricia Wright’s work, you can rent Island of Lemurs: Madagascar on Amazon Prime for $1.99. In addition you can find out how to directly help the communities around Ranomafana National Park , by viewing the latest video from Centre ValBio below. While you do that, make sure you subscribe to Centre ValBio (CVB) on YouTube where you can view all their interesting videos.

We also have a fabulous opportunity happening sometime soon, where you will have the opportunity to learn directly from Dr. Wright and even ask questions. Our very own nature educator extraordinaire, Eric Powers will be having a conversation with Dr. Wright about her research while sitting inside a lemur cage. This opportunity will be available for you to participate via a Zoom webinar. More details will follow. Look for our email and check our website. We would love to have you join us!

Please help us if you can. Click the button below to donate to the Stony Brook Foundation supporting the CVB Rainforest Conservation Fund.

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