Richard Branson Creating Lemur Island
Billionaire giving Caribbean island to endangered primates
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2011 4:03 AM CDT
"I was really trying to come up with a radical idea to save them," Branson says.   (AP Photo/Todd VanSickle, file)

(Newser) – Mogul Richard Branson has a spare Caribbean island that he's planning to turn over to some of the world's most endangered species. The billionaire plans to create a colony of lemurs on the undeveloped island in the British Virgin Islands. The primates are rapidly disappearing from their native Madagascar, and Branson has secured permission to import 30 of the animals. He hopes to eventually have more than a dozen species of lemurs on Moskito Island.

"Maybe in time we could find one or two other islands in the world, preferably bigger islands, so that if Madagascar continues to destroy their habitat, the lemurs will at least survive somewhere on the planet," Branson tells AP. Critics, however, fear that the omnivorous lemurs will wipe out native wildlife. A biologist who has worked in the area for decades calls Branson's plan a "horrible idea," charging that introducing exotic species into any environment never works. Branson plans to meet with scientists opposed to the project and find ways to address their concerns.

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Apr 19, 2011 11:06 AM CDT
Branson will do anything for publicity. He jumps on any bandwagon (currently "green") to promote his sales. This is definitely a "horrible idea". We need to shame him into canning it. Hopefully a lot of respected conservationists will convince him there are better ways (maybe preserving some land in Madagascar for starters). Problem is, his "save the lemurs" really means "grow the brand", and the canny marketing fiend knows he can get the lemurs to PAY if they're nearer the 'States!
Apr 19, 2011 7:27 AM CDT
Ah, to be eccentric and unspeakably rich ;D
Apr 19, 2011 4:29 AM CDT
I bet its The Virgin Islands.