Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Just months before his death at age 94, John Hope Franklin visited the Duke Lemur Center. News of his impending visit sent ripples of excitement through the staff. We knew that this was a man who not only read history, studied history, wrote history and taught it, but he had lived history and by the way he lived, he had changed it. John Hope Franklin was this country's premier chronicler of the African American story and a James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University.
For the Duke Lemur Center, our brush with Dr. Franklin was all too brief, but we were moved by his presence. Everyone who met him was impressed by his calm dignity, his warmth, and his genuine humility. Yet, it was easy to see why Henry Louis Gates, Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research referred to Dr. Franklin as "the Prince." At 94, John Hope retained his regal bearing.
Also evident, as John Hope Franklin toured the Lemur Center and fed an aye-aye a raisin, was the delight in learning that along with his intellectual rigor and engaged passion had fueled a long and prestigious career. It was an honor to have him visit. We join the many who remember an honorable man, who made a difference.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Blog entry by Charlie Welch, Conservation Coordinator at the Duke Lemur Center
Charlie and his family lived and worked in Madagascar for many years and care deeply for the people, the land and the lemurs.
It has been almost a month since I wrote the last update of the political situation in
The democratically elected president of
The international community has roundly condemned the unseating of a democratically elected president by forceful means. The African Union and the South African Development Community have both announced that they do not recognize the new government in
The situation is a complex one for the donor community. No one wants to cut off aid to one of the poorest countries in the world, as that punishes those at the lower end of the economic scale. Also, as
What does it all mean? So hard to say at this point. What it does mean for certain is a large loss of foreign investment, which will mean further loss of jobs, which of course translates as difficult times ahead for the Malagasy people. And that on top of an already sagging world economy which has already caused cutbacks for many economic and business ventures in
On a side closer to us, little has changed for the Madagascar Fauna Group (MFG) and Duke Lemur Center (DLC) in terms of conservation work in
As always, our thoughts and hopes for the best are with our friends, and colleagues in
Here is a recent article from National Geographic about the situation in Madagascar and how it effects conservation.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Every life matters. With endangered species, each life takes on special importance. The animals at the Duke Lemur Center represent a genetic safety net for lemurs in the wild in Madagascar - the only place in the world where lemurs occur naturally. So every infant feels like a success.
The Coquerel's sifaka are not the only lemurs having breeding success at Duke Lemur Center. This past week-end Foster, a Blue-eyed black lemur gave birth to twins. It's early days for the twins, and life for every species is fragile - particularly perinatally, but today mom and twins are doing well.
Ring-tailed lemur with infant