Thursday, 15 March 2012

Which is better Sifakas or Guitars? There's only one way to find out... watch BBC Natural World TONIGHT!

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Natural World: Madagascar, Lemurs & Spies - Thurs 15th March, 2012, 9pm BBC2

Last year I was contacted by primatologist Erik Patel who produced Trouble in Lemur Land. He wanted to raise awareness of an ever increasing threat to Madagascar's unique and diverse wildlife. The crisis at the heart of his film is the illegal logging of Madagascan hardwood, and in particular the devastating effect of the wide scale loss of Rosewood on the enchanting silky sifaka lemur, one of the rarest mammals in the world. Erik, who has been studying sifakas for 10 years, told me that less than 2000 these sifakas remain in the wild, and only in a small region of northeastern Madagascar. None have ever survived in captivity.

Read more about Eriks project and the Madagascan Hardwood Crisis in my post from last year.

Now Erik has teamed up with BBC Natural World to bring us 'Madagascar, Lemurs & Spies'. In this film he joins forces with Sascha Von Bismark, a Harvard Graduate and ex-Marine who runs the Environmental Investigation Agency in Washington DC. Together they investigate whether there is a link between these endangered lemurs, illegal logging and expensive guitars in the USA. 

Erik Patel, The Primatologist:
"I'm amazed we all made it out in one piece! From the icy summit of the Marojejy massif at dawn to undercover filming of rosewood stockpiles and a leading rosewood gangster; a lot more could have gone wrong than busted cameras, aching knees, and severe weight loss. Filming silky sifakas in mountainous rainforest takes incredible patience and extreme tolerance to nasty weather, bad food, and perpetually wet, filthy clothing."

Photo: LV the Silky Sifaka Facebook group - LIKE HERE

Tuppence Stone, The Producer:
"it was his commitment beyond his research to activism which made for a really strong story. I was impressed by his role to make sure illegal logging got noticed, and the realisation he was not alone. In Madagascar there are many unsung heroes who helped us, taking risks to try to change the world."

John Brown, The Cameraman:
"’s difficult to appreciate quite how challenging working in Madagascar’s rainforests can be. Most of the time we couldn’t see more than the tip of a tail of the Sifakas, and that would only be a half glimpse through 40m of foliage. Every now and again they would take pity on us and co-operate, and we’d be rewarded with beautiful behaviour that would make us forget the misery and revel in the privilege of spending time with one of the planet’s rarest and most engaging primates."

See clips and read more on the BBC programme page.


  1. i know gibson can account for all their wood trasanctions now.People will tell you rosewood fingerboards are deeper sounding and Slower than maple but i wonder if 99% of people can pick this up.
    There are enough alternatives for non professional guitarists and enough vintage guitars that are not being played that we dont need any more rosewood.

  2. Probably, the number 1 reason of forest destruction is illegal logging. There is no doubt that there is a direct relationship between the endangered lemurs and illegal logging. However, if guitars are made from these logs, I just hope that musicians do not support this cause, instead campaign to stop this illegal activity. cold steel tomahawk

  3. I always feel guilty when I a go camping and hunting. I even bought a set of kershaw knives to use for hunting but I pity those little animals that we see in the forests. Sometimes, I just make sure that we don't harm the rare species.