Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

Synopsis: Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman narrates Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, the incredible true story of nature's greatest explorers - lemurs. Captured with IMAX 3D cameras, the film takes audiences on a spectacular journey to the remote and wondrous world of Madagascar. Lemurs arrived in Madagascar as castaways millions of years ago and evolved into hundreds of diverse species but are now highly endangered. Join trailblazing scientist Patricia Wright on her lifelong mission to help these strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world. Directed by David Douglas and written and produced by Drew Fellman, Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Entertainment.
Director(s): David Douglas
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
39 min


If you're wondering who you are...'re not alone.

You're no monkey's uncle.

But you are rather peculiar.

Where did you come from

and who were your ancestors?


Guess again.

That's right.

The story of lemurs

begins over 60 million years ago.

Back in the time of the dinosaurs.

Long before monkeys, apes,

or humans ever existed.

Lemurs were small nocturnal creatures and

survived the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.

They were living in Africa...

...when a massive storm

blew a tangled raft of trees out to sea...

...and turned a family of tiny lemurs...

...into some of the greatest explorers

in the history of life on Earth.

The lemurs landed on Madagascar.

A vast island isolated

from the rest of the world.

For millions of years,

there were no other mammals, or even birds.

With no predators to fear...

...lemurs emerged into the daylight.

And over time they evolved into

a wild variety of new shapes and sizes.

Their ancestors went extinct in Africa.

But in Madagascar, lemurs thrived...

...and became the rulers

of their glorious new world.

Lemurs are the most

ancient primate alive today.

And Madagascar is the only

place on Earth where they live.

For a scientist seeking to preserve

our planet's rich biodiversity...

...Madagascar is Treasure Island.

Dr. Patricia Wright is a primatologist

from New York's Stony Brook University.

She's an expert

in finding rare and elusive lemurs.

As a young scientist, her destiny

was changed by a journey to Madagascar.

Back then, the country was changing fast.

And the lemurs' good luck was running out.

I first came to

Madagascar to solve a mystery...

...about a lemur

that we feared had gone extinct.

My mission was to find it.

The greater bamboo lemur

once lived throughout Madagascar...

...but hadn't been seen in 50 years.

I searched for months

and never saw a single one.

I had almost given up,

when I got to Ranomafana.

Then one morning...

...there he was.


Feasting on his favorite treat:

Crunchy, young bamboo shoots.

After her discovery...

...Patricia helped save

this rain forest as a national park.

And she devoted her life to protecting

the wild places of Madagascar...

...and all the animals that call it home.

The word lemur means "wandering spirit."

And there is something otherworldly

about the lemurs of this forest.

These lemurs are sacred in Madagascar.

There is a legend about two brothers

who lived in the forest.

One ran off and became the first human.

The other stayed and became... indri.

There were once lemurs as big as gorillas.

But those were hunted to extinction

just a few hundred years ago.

Indri are the largest lemurs that remain.

Indri live in small family groups

that have their own territories.

They trade news with each other

by singing haunting duets.

Each family member adds their part... a chorus that travels

deep into the forest.

The song of indri once echoed

loudly across the eastern rain forest...

...but now it's fading away.

No indri has ever survived in captivity.

You can only meet one here... Madagascar.

The town of Ranomafana

is on the edge of the ancient rainforest...

...where I found the greater bamboo lemurs.

The people in the surrounding

villages benefit from the park.

But they still rely on the land to survive.


Before I was a scientist,

I was a social worker in Brooklyn.

It's my nature to solve problems.

And in Madagascar,

humans and lemurs have the same problem:

Limited resources that they both need.

Madagascar was one of the

last places on Earth settled by humans.

They brought a small

breed of cattle called zebu...

...that need open space for grazing.

Since their arrival 2000 years ago...

...people have burned down over

90 percent of Madagascar's forests... clear land for grazing and farming.

Every dry season...

...thousands of fires

still burn across the island.

The fires are set in fields,

but grow out of control...

...and spread to the forests

where lemurs live.

It's the biggest threat

to wildlife in Madagascar.

Many lemur species are dwindling

as their forests disappear.

But one crafty lemur has

bet its survival...

...on the ability to adapt

to changing conditions.

Beyond the reach of fire...

...gangs of ring-tailed lemurs

have found their perfect hideout.

Ring-tails live in groups

of extended families.

And it's easy to observe one of the things

that makes all lemurs special among primates.

The females are in charge.

The alpha female decides

where they go and what they eat.

This troop's leader

is hobbled by a broken hand...

...but that doesn't affect

her position at the top.

Even the smallest female... dominant over every male.

Females inherit their power

from their mother.

They keep it

through experience and attitude.

Ring-tails once covered

much wider territory in Madagascar.

But as humans spread out, the ring-tails...

...retreated into the cracks

of this natural fortress.

Like lemur outlaws...

...they live on the edge of civilization

and launch raids on the farms below.

At night, the day's

squabbles are forgotten.

The ring-tailed family grooms each other and

sleeps cuddled up in one big lemur ball.

They survive by sticking together.

Patricia's headquarters

in Madagascar is the Centre ValBio...

...a state-of-the-art research station perched

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Drew Fellman

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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