In the wilderness

Island of Lemurs:Madagascar explores majesty of endangered species in film

Mumbai | Updated: April 9, 2014 3:58 pm
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

After the animated lemur King Julien of Madagascar captured kids attention with his eccentricity, a new film takes them to the real, isolated world of the singing, dancing, mischievous lemurs. Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, that released last week, takes audiences on a 3D adventure into the exotic habitat of the lemurs on the island of Madagascar, the only place in the world where they exist in the wild.
The 40-minute film, narrated by Morgan Freeman, explores and educates on the wide-eyed lemurs, a family of primate species that has been around for more than 60 million years, and the journey they took from Africa across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar, where they found a thriving natural habitat. Freeman, whose calm and authoritative deep voice chronicled March Of The Penguins in 2005, agreed to narrate the film to express the urgency of saving the planet’s wildlife. “We should all teach our kids about the importance of plain old diversity on the planet. The planet is sustained by diversity and we’re killing it all. It’s catastrophe,” said Morgan.
The film follows primatologist Patricia Wright as she strives to save certain lemur species from extinction, finding mates for the few left in the dense Madagascar forests.
“These extraordinary creatures that live in Madagascar are a lot like us. They have families, they raise their offspring and have problems with their offspring,” Wright said.
From the Indri, the largest of the lemurs, to the smallest primate in the world, the mouse lemur, the dancing sifakas and the bamboo lemurs that seek out baby bamboo shoots to snack on, Island of Lemurs shows each animal’s specific personalities.
Lemurs have largely been underrepresented in films and television due to their isolation, Freeman said, but the character of King Julien in the DreamWorks animated Madagascar films, voiced by British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, paved a path to awareness of lemurs. The films also feature the mouse lemur Mort, played by Andy Richter. “As much as I love King Julien, I would have preferred it to be Queen Juliana, because females are leaders in lemurs,” Wright said with a laugh.


Facing Extinction

The lemurs do face threats, especially some species that are close to extinction, from deforestation and poaching, as some Malagasy people are driven to eat local wildlife due to poverty. Some giant lemur species have already become extinct, and others are critically endangered as more than 90 per cent of the island’s forests have been destroyed.
“Lemurs are at the last stage in their long existence, and we felt that they were disappearing simply through people’s ignorance of them,” director David Douglas said.
Island of Lemurs from Time Warner Inc’s Warner Bros studios, shows village communities being re-educated on the unique nature of the lemurs and what they mean to the Madagascar ecosystem, encouraging their protection.
Douglas, who previously worked with Freeman on 2011 wildlife film Born to Be Wild, said he felt nature programming in today’s media has taken a turn for the “exploitative,” focusing on the sensational aspects of the animal world. With Island of Lemurs, he wanted to showcase the gentle manner of the lemurs, such as capturing the extraordinary way they sing on the treetops to communicate with each other.
“We’re trying to involve people and engage them with the entertainment side of the lives of these animals, because they lead such rich lives ,” said Douglas.


L’Wren Scott leaves $9-million estate to Mick Jagger

Fashion designer L’Wren Scott, who committed suicide earlier this month, left her entire estate of $9 million to her long-time boyfriend, Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, according to a will filed in New York court.Scott, 49, a favorite designer of Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman and Amy Adams, left jewelry, clothing, furniture, automobiles and property to Jagger, whom she had dated since 2001.
She omitted her two siblings in the will, that was signed on May 23, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. “I give the rest and residue of my estate to Michael Philip Jagger,” the will said. “Except for otherwise provided in this will, I have intentionally omitted to provide herein for any of my heirs at the date of my death.” Court papers estimated the value of her personal estate at $9 million.
Scott was found dead in her New York apartment in Manhattan’s upscale Chelsea neighborhood on March 17. The medical examiner’s office ruled that the former fashion model and stylist had committed suicide by hanging.
At the time of her death, Scott’s company, LS Fashion Limited, was thought to be facing mounting debt. Company accounts filed in London reported a loss of 4.3 million euros ($5.99 million) in 2012, an increase from a 3.0 million euro loss the previous year. But her New York representatives, PR Consulting, described the reports as “misleading and inaccurate,” and said Scott had been considering a restructuring of her global business.


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