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Why We Must Save Lemurs from Extinction: Quotes from the Experts

There are many reasons to be fascinated by lemurs—their evolution, their importance as seed dispersers, the abundance of species (112!) across Madagascar. Plus, they are pretty adorable. But, a staggering 98% of lemur species are threatened with extinction. A further 33% are categorized as Critically Endangered, the highest threat level.

The world’s preeminent scientists and conservationists tell us why they think it’s so important to conserve lemurs.

Lemurs are amazing, unique and wonderful.  Sadly, they are also the world’s most endangered group of mammals and in need of very special attention, both internationally and within Madagascar.
Russ Mittermeier, Ph.D.; Chairman, IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group; Chief Conservation Officer, Global Wildlife Conservation

Understanding the story of lemurs–their diversity, origins, and the way they exist in their environment–helps us understand our own evolution. If we lose lemurs to extinction, we lose a vital piece of our own story.

Steig Johnson, Ph.D., Biological Anthropologist and Associate Professor, University of Calgary

Lemurs are the goose laying the golden eggs for Madagascar. Thousands of families depend on lemurs, because tourists will not come to see empty forests.
— Jonah Ratsimbazafy, Secretary General, GERP

While Madagascar the movie may live on digitally forever, this fantastic island nation’s unique and rare species, once lost, will be gone forever.

Alison Clausen, Madagascar Country Director for Wildlife Conservation Society, in The Guardian

Madagascar is unique in having such a large number of primate species that occur nowhere else in the world, but it is also unique in the extreme level of threat these animals face.
— Christoph Schwitzer, Ph.D., Director of Conservation, Bristol Zoological Society

The more we talk about the need for more effective lemur conservation, the more action we will hopefully see from the Malagasy government, helped by the international donor community.

Christoph Schwitzer, Ph.D., Director of Conservation, Bristol Zoological Society

Lemurs are Madagascar’s most distinctive global brand, and a major asset in scientific, cultural, and economic terms. Their conservation should be a very high priority.

Russ Mittermeier, Ph.D.; Chairman, IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group; Chief Conservation Officer, Global Wildlife Conservation

Without collaborative and immediate action, it is possible that our great-grandchildren will never see the beautiful ecosystems and wildlife that many of us are fortunate to live in and research.

Christopher Golden PhD, MPH, Director of HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages), Wildlife Conservation Society

Learn How to Help Lemurs