Founder of Madagascar's Centre ValBio - Dr. Patricia Wright
Dr. Patricia Wright has been one of the leading figures in Madagascar conservation for over 30 years. Best known for her extensive study of the social and family interactions of wild lemurs, as well as discovering a new species - Hapalemur aureus, the golden bamboo lemur - Patricia also founded the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments (ICTE) at New York state's Stony Brook University. Established in 1991, the Institute is dedicated to science-based research and conservation in the tropical regions of the world. But it is Madagascar in particular that has always been at the heart of Patricia's work, and in addition to the ICTE, she has also founded Centre ValBio, a modern research campus located in the Madagascan rainforest that works to sustain the country's people and natural resources.
Patricia has devoted most of her professional life to Madagascar and its lemurs, beginning in 1986 when she travelled to the island in search of the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), a species thought to be extinct. Patricia achieved her goal of rediscovering this elusive primate, but her contribution to the natural world didn't end there. In the years following she combined her research with efforts to preserve the country’s endangered forests, as well as the many species of plants and animals they harbour. She was also influential in the establishment of Ranomafana National Park, a 106,000-acre protected area home to a number of endangered species that has since been inscribed as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A recipient of numerous awards for her scientific research and conservation work, including the Chevalier d'Ordre National (National Medal of Honour) and Officier d’Ordre National (National Order of Merit) from the President of Madagascar, Patricia is also a Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology who works tirelessly to educate the public about the wonders of the natural world, and the dangers it faces.