The first time I ever even heard of a lemur was when I watched 2005′s animated feature Madagascar when a tribe of lemurs, led by their King, sang and danced to “I Like To Move It.” That song, and those characters became a household name and children everywhere giggle over the hilarious and cute lemurs in that movie. If you were a child of the 90′s, then maybe you remember a PBS show called Zoboomafoo that ran for 2 years on PBS and playfully combined some live action lemur shots with a talking, cartoon lemur. Either way, lemurs are a very beloved animal but yet…. do you actually know what a lemur is? Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is making sure you do.
“They are amazing creatures,” says Dr. Patricia Wright, who is an accomplished American primatologist, anthropologist, and conservationist. Dr. Wright is also thought to be the world’s most foremost expert of lemurs. “They are like nothing else on earth,” she says, “they are so unique and beautiful creatures. Each species is different. There are 103 different species and each one is unique in some way.”
While Dr. Wright is featured in the film as she ventures to the jungles of Madagascar to find the bamboo lemur, who are thought to be extinct, it is the voice of acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman that narrates the educational adventure. When asked what he knows about lemurs, Freeman replied, “I don’t know lemurs. However, I have a friend who has a place in the Caribbean and he raises them. So, on a visit to his place about a year ago or more, I was introduced to them, up close and personal. They’re obviously in a little bit of trouble, and he’s doing what he can to help rejuvenate their population. So, I got a little bit of history about them, but not nearly what I got from doing this narration. They’re terrific little creatures. We are turning everything on this planet into food for humans. We’ll eat it and, if we can’t eat it, we’ll kill it and take its place and just move it out of the way. The amazing thing about Madagascar is that there were no humans there when the lemurs got there, so they flourished. Life does, without us.”
When asked why she decided to focus on lemurs, Dr. Wright stated, “The main reason I’m so focused on Lemurs is they are so critically endangered. 91% of Lemurs are endangered and I hope with this film we can do something more to help the Lemurs.”
Exactly why the lemurs are endanger is a combination of nature and man. “The major issue for the Lemurs is the Forest fires,” said Dr. Wright, “but hunting has become more of a problem. It used to be the village elders of Madagascar villages would tell the villagers to not eat the Lemurs as they are so much like us, but as hunger rises and the villagers don’t listen to the elders much any more, hunters are becoming a big problem now a days to add to the problem.”
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar (Rated G) is a gorgeous 3D IMAX experience that is both educational, fun and full of beautiful cinematography that will leav e you blown away. At a short 40 mins, it’s a must see for all families for a little glimpse at the adorable animals that kids already know and love.