Madagascar lemurs share spotlight with primatologist in new IMAX film

/ Rhett A. Butler

Tomorrow's opening of the IMAX film Island of Lemurs: Madagascar showcases not only endangered primates, but one of Madagascar's top conservationists: primatologist Patricia C. Wright.

Left to right – Soundtrack artist Hanitrarivo Rasoanaivo, director David Douglas, writer/producer Drew Fellman, narrator Morgan Freeman and Patricia C. Wright greet the gathered crowd outside the California Science Center IMAX Theater in Los Angeles on March 29, 2014.
Left to right – Soundtrack artist Hanitrarivo Rasoanaivo, director David Douglas, writer/producer Drew Fellman, narrator Morgan Freeman and Patricia C. Wright greet the gathered crowd outside the California Science Center IMAX Theater in Los Angeles on March 29, 2014.

Tomorrow’s opening of the IMAX film Island of Lemurs: Madagascar showcases not only endangered primates, but one of Madagascar’s top conservationists: primatologist Patricia C. Wright.

The film — directed by David Douglas, written and produced by Drew Fellman, and narrated by Morgan Freeman — puts lemurs at center stage, highlighting their origin, diversity, and the threats they face. But beyond the furry cuteness, the film details Wright’s contributions to conservation on the island nation, including her successful effort to establish Ranomafana National Park, a reserve that is home to more than a dozen lemur species.

Ranomafana has now become the centerpiece for conservation in Madagascar. The park has a world-class research facility run by Wright and community development programs to help villagers realize direct benefits from conservation. Accordingly, the park is being used to inform conservation projects across the country.

Wright hopes that the film will raise global awareness of the plight of lemurs and Madagascar’s other wildlife, the majority of which are endangered due to large-scale habitat destruction. The film will also directly benefit Wright’s efforts, with a portion of the proceeds to support Centre Valbio, her organization in Madagascar.

Island Of Lemurs: Madagascar premieres Friday, April 4.

A 2007 interview with Pat Wright appears here.

Disclosure: Rhett Butler serves on the Centre Valbio board.

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