Transcript for Tracking endangered lemurs in the heart of Madagascar
We journey into the Madagascar are rain forest coming face to face with lemurs some of the most in danger prime meets on earth. We're guided by a woman who has dedicated her life to preventing the extinction of these exotic and beautiful creatures. And against all odds she's actually having an impact here's ABC's Alex mark or. This is one of the richest rainforests under runoff on up in the heart of the island of Madagascar. Home to an extraordinary range of animals including tiny frogs this is full size yeah the biggest chameleon on the planet. And its most famous residents the lemurs. We spent days in this muggy forest trekking for miles. To catch a glimpse of this unique and endangered creature. The tunnel. Very blurs flying from branch to branch hanging upside down munching on leaves and we're taking this news he embraced the tree. Not a gas cars the only place on earth where lemurs can be found in the wild. They're also some of the lesser known prime mates but that's what we changing thanks to blockbuster movies like Madagascar. And I'm these. And their recent starring role in the stunning new BBC series planet earth to obviously they're adorable and what do you think the mass appeal of the lemur it is. It has sort of an appealing a panda bear. But it's not so they had this fluffy like a cat they have this kind of zen attitude about life and inverted relaxed. Doctor Patricia Wright is an American climatologist at Stony Brook university and has dedicated her life to studying lemurs. Against all odds she managed to convince the government of this island when 90% of the land has been deforested that it was worth protecting this rainforest. And the lemurs and if this is one of the poorest countries on the planet and there you were. A foreigner marching into the offices saying stop chopping on the trees which the main source of income or to save this. Small animal they must've looked at you and thought you were crazy indeed and I try to explain to them. This animal so special that people would come from all over the world to see it. And in our very first morning with her in the team of guides and experience unlike any they've ever had one. Trekking through the 160. Square mile park scanning the treetops looking for movement. We come across a cluster of three shut Fokker lemurs nestled in a tree. I. We interrupted their post lunch grooming session. It's just. Too close for comfort apparently has to scampered away. The third settling in for now just. Cross news arms slicks had. Axis. In thirty years doctor right in the guides say this is the closest they've gotten to these lemurs in the wild. This is phased in rare cases on the trail obviously meant to count here fifteen of the more than 100 species of lemurs who live here in this forest. Many of them critically endangered. Including the black and white rough lemur which hasn't been seen in months bodyguards but has just been spot it. Watching an hours long pursuit. We are earning this leamer lots of very steep up and down. Who were heading to Wear at the trees are that he's like a white roughly was like to feed on. And listening out for their distinctive call it and around six feet off the ground there they were leaping hanging by their tiny powerful feet scarf and down launched. There are fewer than house and these rumors are out because of that class aggressive call. Makes it very easy for hunters to find them as well. One of the main reasons doctor Wright chose to study lemurs is their social system in these roving families it's the females were in charge they descent through the whole group Gomes. Who decides which fruit trees you're gonna go in and they go for just eat the past. These on the boards eat most anything including bamboo stalks which are full of cyanide. Easily enough to kill a person but no effect on the leamer doctor Wright's team is studying how they're able to digest such a powerful toxin. He's golden bamboo lemurs like to hang out the top of the Kennedy in the guides can spot them pretty easily because when you walk into the foursome got all the little bits that don't want fall into the forest floor. At night the littlest ones emerge so we're cheating a little bit Robinson banana on the trees bananas are like crack to mostly works. To mouse lemurs are the smallest primate in the world. He's he's he's. Champions. Aren't. It's pure enough constricting bands. Mouse lemurs are known to get the same disease as we do you like alzheimer's diabetes and obesity making them crucial to study. On this night the researchers are setting traps for another small species that dwarfed Reamer thirteen has been monitoring the health and size of the force populations after just a few hours they catch one. Measuring tagging and naming it because they Alex yes. I'm honored and Wallace and nobody. It's you wouldn't. Criticize. Even after three decades in this forest doctor Wright shows all the enthusiasm of a tourist visiting for the first time. The rainforests is an amazing place and even nine bending over thirty years I still don't know exactly what's gonna happen wanna go up there. In protecting run amok on a she's been able to bring back a number of lemur species. From the brink of extinction. Teaching a new generation of locals to pressure what is happening. And preserving the only place on earth the study these special animals and their natural habitats. For Nightline I'm Alex Marquardt and not enough on a national park and Madagascar.
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