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Breakdancing marine biologist raises thousands for endangered lemurs

How could you say no to these little guys?


Marisa Kabas


Lions may be kings of the jungle, but lemurs are the poster children of Madagascar. That’s why one man has set out to help save the boisterous, endangered creatures from going completely extinct with a 24-hour fundraiser.

Mike Corey—who studied marine biology in college, is a trained breakdancer (or “B-boy”), and a freelance photographer and videographer—has traveled the world extensively. Nearly one year ago, he created the YouTube channel “Kick the Grind” to document his many international excursions. His most recent travels took him to the island nation of Madagascar.

“In sixth grade science class, I wrote a report on Madagascar,” Corey shared in a blog on the Huffington Post. “To me it was a mystical island: its forests full of incredible and strange creatures. I learned that 90% of its animals are endemic, meaning they only live in Madagascar. It was like an exclusive club for wildlife. I hung a flag of Madagascar on my ceiling and promised myself that someday I would make it to this incredible place.”

When he discovered that 90 percent of the 100 species of lemur in Madagascar were going extinct, he decided it was time to finally take that trip.

In a 24-hour fundraiser hosted on crowdfunding platform CrowdRise, Corey is calling on environmentalists, conservationists, and animal lovers alike to throw a few dollars toward saving a specific species, the Greater Bamboo Lemur. Their goal of $10,000 will go toward a project to slow the erosion of the species.

Dr. Patricia Wright, an American scientist, discovered that this species of lemur was still kicking in central eastern Madagascar. It was previously thought to be extinct. She’s worked tirelessly to help save the remaining population, but today only 500 remain on the entire island. Deforestation and hunting have lead to their demise, but there’s a project that can help.

Corey explains:

Currently only two Greater Bamboo Lemurs live in a protected environment on Madagascar. They are safe within the boundaries of the Ranomafana National Park. The pair are father and daughter and will not breed. There is, however, a group of 100 Greater Bamboo Lemurs living in a small patch of forest outside of the park. This population is healthy, but have resorted in crop raiding for food. The forest will soon be cut down, and farmers will resort to hunting to protect their crops and support their families.

The goal of the project is “to reunite these two populations inside the safety of Ranomafana National Park.” And to do so, they’ll need money to build a strip of bamboo forest to connect the population to the national park.

Photo via Brian Gratwicke/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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