Target: Dr. Patricia Chappelle Wright
Goal: Thank Dr. Wright for her conservation work helping save threatened lemurs
American scientist Dr. Patricia Chappelle Wright is an expert on Madagascan lemurs. Human activity threatens their continued survival. As a primatologist, anthropologist and conservationist Dr. Wright has worked tirelessly to study and protect these incredible creatures found nowhere else in the world.
Wright’s work began in 1986 when she traveled to Madagascar in search of the greater bamboo lemur rumored for decades to be extinct. She went on to find not only the greater bamboo lemur but a second new species called the golden bamboo lemur. These discoveries help prompt creation of Ranomafana National Park, now listed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. Eighteen other parks and protected areas have been created thanks to her efforts.
Wright’s list of accomplishments is quite respectable. She recently became the first woman awarded the biennial Indianapolis Prize from the Indianapolis Zoo, and was made a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Stone Brook University. Her work and personal story were made into a documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, called Island of Lemurs: Madagascar. She founded and continues to serve as director of the Centre ValBio Research Campus in Madagascar.
Currently Dr. Wright works with Malagasy villagers to create environmentally friendly and economically viable solutions to local problems. Wright will use her $250,000 winnings from the Indianapolis Prize to provide electricity to small villages on the island and protect the forests of Ranomafana, where a new species of lemurs are threatened by gold mining operations. The villagers themselves grow increasingly upset as gold panning disrupts the natural flow of streams. And while the villagers don’t eat lemurs the miners have been killing them.
Dr. Wright’s work is helping to preserve these incredible animals and their habitat. Thank her for her tireless efforts. So often it is people like her bringing to light the threats to our world that prompt widespread efforts to protect it.
Dear Dr. Wright,
I am writing to express my deepest thanks for your conservation efforts in Madagascar. I understand that these lemurs, found nowhere else on Earth, are very special to you. Your dedication to inspiring others worldwide to protect these creatures demonstrates your kindness and selflessness.
This planet does not belong to humans; it belongs to all animals. I know that Madagascar’s lemurs continue to face multiple threats. But because of your compassionate contributions there is hope that people and lemurs can learn to peacefully coexist. Again, thank you for your ongoing devotion this cause.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rachel Kramer via Wikimedia