Friday, July 02, 2010

Primatologist battles for Madagascar's future

Patricia Wright has discovered two new species of lemur in the forests of Madagascar. But she also has a broader mission - saving enough forest for the island's creatures to survive in. Things looked promising in 1991 when she helped get the 106,000-acre Ranomafana National Park created and designated as a World Heritage Site. A coup in 2009, though, brought a new government for which forest protection was a much lower priority than the short-term economic boost which could be obtained from felling the island's remaining hardwood trees. Wright has fought back through the global media, through the United States and European Union governments, and through local activists. The result has been some restrictions on logging, but with inadequate enforcement. So Wright keeps fighting.
"It's a beautiful rain forest that's being pillaged," she says, "where 13 to 15 species of lemur live, and the chameleons come from. Many of Madagascar's endemic birds live here, too. This used to be the biggest tract of pristine forest in the eastern rain forest. But thousands, maybe millions, of logs came out of there last year."

1 comment:

Dallas said...

this is my favorite author and everything about he just makes me smile- Dallas Kopas