The DreamWorks version of Madagascar is exactly that, a fantasy. The island nation is no unpeopled paradise teeming with dancing lemurs, as depicted in the animated Madagascar film. On the contrary, almost all of its lemur species are being driven to extinction by humans. This World Lemur’s Day, it is worth pointing out that the Covid-19 pandemic poses a threat to our primate cousins as well. Lemur conservation work in Madagascar can be traced back several decades, but was still in its nascency in 1986, when American primatologist Patricia Wright traveled to southeastern Madagascar in search of a ghost, an animal long believed to be extinct: the greater bamboo lemur. She found it, and she found a fight worth fighting: saving the island’s endemic lemurs. When Wright told residents there that she wanted to create a park that would attract plane-loads of tourists, they laughed. Lemurs are central to Malagasy culture, but the idea that people would travel thousands of kilometers to catch a glimpse of them was laughable. Wright proved them wrong. Over three decades, she worked with locals to build a national park in one of the world’s most impoverished countries, where three out of four people live on less than $1.90 a day. Founded in 1991, Ranomafana National Park has over the years become one of the island’s most-visited attractions. Then Covid-19 hit. Overnight, foreign visitors disappeared, and so did income. Ranomafana is not alone; parks across Africa saw revenues plummet as countries clamped borders shut and imposed lockdowns in response to…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer