Prolemur simus (formerly known as Hapalemur simus) is one of the most critically endangered lemurs if not the most endangered one. Commonly known as the greater bamboo lemur, fossils records indicate that it was once widespread on the island of Madagascar. However at present, its populations are patchily distributed and restricted to rainforest areas in eastern and southeastern Madagascar, occupying less than 5% of its former range. As the name implies it is the largest of the bamboo-eating lemurs. Feeding is their second main activity with a specialized diet comprising mostly of one species of bamboo: Cathariostachys Madagascariensis (95% of the diet).
I do not know about you but at times I get lost in some scientific papers. As I try to understand everything to make sense of all the complex equations, graphs and statistics, I sometimes get distracted from the main message. So I can only have a guess at how much our scientific language may look like hieroglyphs to others. Yet as conservation biologists or simply biologists, we surely do not want our research- into which we put so much effort- to be understood by only a group of people. Getting the general public to understand our work is one step forward to translate scientific language on paper into concrete actions. Here I wish to share a short interview with David Quammen (Science writer, Author of The Song of the dodo and contributing writer for the National Geographic) based on the workshop entitled Science as Story: Communicating Scientific Material to a General Audience, that he animated at the SCCS Conference in Bangalore, India (2-4 August 2012).
F.M: Do you believe it is essential for conservation biologists to share their findings to the general public?
D.Q: I do think it is important for conservation biologists to see their findings translated to the general public. I don’t necessarily think it’s the responsibility of the scientists to do that. There are people in the in-between space like myself who are science writers, whose job is to translate science to the general public and that’s the way science informs policy. I don’t think science determines policy but it informs policy and it is important for the information to pass along that path, from scientists through responsible journalists and science writers to the general public. Continue reading “Interview with David Quammen: Science as story”