Today we’re honoured to have Marat with us, who is the incorporator of The Lemur Fund, an organisation that is raising money to help conserve the lemurs habitat.
Marat majored in physics and computer science. He spent most of his life in gaming business, being cofounder of Wargaming game development company. The team has been struggling for survival for years, until they risked it all in 2010 to create World of Tanks online game no one believed in. WoT turned out to be a global hit and the company became one of the industry leaders. Being Chief Operating officer for several years he expanded Wargaming globally and developed few tech startups. He is particularly interested in genomics, information medicine, nanorobotics, waste management, animal protection and wild life conservation. He can be proud to be an early adopter of technologies, among other fields of interest: conquering aging and death.
Thank you so much for your time today! We’re very excited to have you interviewing with us about your funds to help save Lemurs in Madagascar.
How did you first realise that the Lemurs were in trouble?
I think I always liked lemurs. First time I saw them in a Zoo many years ago and was impressed by their cute look, how they groomed each other and were taking sun bath. I started to collect lemur figures and I wanted to know more about them. I read dozens of articles and contacted some scientists and I realised that they were in real danger and I decided to save these wonderful creatures and build my own team. This is how MK Lemur foundation appeared.
Is it true that Madagascar is the only country in the world that Lemurs are found in the wild?
Yes, all of the world’s lemurs are found on a single island and a single country: Madagascar. Isolated from other primate competitors for around 60 million years has allowed lemurs not only to survive here – when they were extinct elsewhere – but to evolve into an astounding variety of types and species, adapted to all sorts of habitats and foods sources.
How do you think a balance can be struck between conservation and industry? I haven’t been to Madagascar, but I have been to Thailand… which is also an incredibly beautiful place, with an incredible environment… that the local population seems not to care for at all because they’re quite poor and have to look after their families… is it the same sort of situation in Madagascar?
I believe the balance definitely can be reached. Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 90% of people live on less than $2 a day while half the country’s children under five are said to suffer from malnutrition. Yet, conservationists say protecting lemurs could actually help the human population as well.
Scientists from all over the world have already created the Lemur Conservation Strategy which will help local people to increase level of life and will conduce to saving lemurs.
Among activities are: reducing illegal cut (precious rosewood which goes to China) and charcoal production, developing new technologies, subsidize and the promotion and adoption of alternative cooking fires; carry out reforestation; provide alternative protein sources (instead of eating bushmeat),developing farming and stop slash-and-burn agriculture; developing ecotourism, etc.
In 2014 scientists released an emergency tree-year-plan that they argued could save lemurs from extinction. Costing $7.6million the plan focused on setting up better protections and conservation programs in 30 lemur hotspots. But this number was never reached.
The fund’s Instagram page is so incredibly cute. How do you get such incredible photos of this furry little guys and girls?
We cooperate with different photographers who love lemurs and are willing to make their input. Actually We welcome talented people who would like to help in any field: artists, programmers, marketing specialists, innovators. It’s very easy to become a part of the team, just drop a line in Facebook, Instagram or to one of our emails. There are a lot of challenges and we can brainstorm together. We are very open hearted and humble guys, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
The World Lemur Festivals look like a lot of fun, have they helped your cause?
Every year MK fund supports The World Lemur Festival. The main goal of this event is educational of course. As Nelson Mandela said Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. The Carnival aims to bring together various stakeholders such as organizations, associations and schools, and also foreigners living in or visiting Madagascar. Another activity such as Conference/Debate is a good forum for promoting lemur conservation and forest habitat protection through scientific communication. The conservation message will show that lemurs have a significant economic value in Madagascar.
If readers want to donate to this cause, how is the best way?
It’s very easy. You just go to our site lemurfund.org and click on orange Donate button on the main page. You will have different options for donation, and it’s up to you how much are you willing to give. We are happy for any amount, though we still need to raise a lot.
Thank you so much for your time, I so sincerely hope something can be done to help out little furry buddies.