Greenville Zoo highlights Madagascar’s endangered wildlife with conservation lecture

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The black and white ruffed lemur is just one of Madagascar's many critically endangered species. The Greenville Zoo is an animal ambassador for native Madagascar species and houses three black and white ruffed lemurs. Photo by Mathias Appel / Flickr Creative Commons.

In 2005, the animated comedy film “Madagascar” shed light on the mysterious island and its lemurs. But more recently, loggers have flattened Madagascar’s rainforests, pushing many of its plants and animals to the brink of extinction.

Luckily, a group of researchers is working to save the subtropical island from deforestation.

That will be the message from Dr. Eric Miller on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Miller, the director of the St. Louis Zoo and a member of the Madagascar Fauna and Flora Group, will be giving a free presentation about the island’s conservation efforts from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in downtown Greenville.

The presentation will focus on the St. Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute, which studies the health and genetics of Madagascar’s animals, including lemurs, as well as provides protection for the island’s plants.

In recent years, logging and other commercial practices have reduced Madagascar’s rainforests by 90 percent, pushing many plant and animal species to the brink of extinction.

Miller’s presentation is funded by the Greenville Zoo Conservation Fund and Furman University’s biology department. They partnered last year to hold a series of free lectures that highlight various global conservation efforts.

“The goal is to help the public learn and understand the importance of being responsible stewards of the planet,” said Nikolay Kapustin, deputy zoo administrator and veterinarian for the Greenville Zoo.

He added that there could be three or four additional lectures this year that highlight various conservation efforts and animals, including anteaters and armadillos.

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