I’m pleased to introduce my friend Chris, a fellow lover of primates like myself. As you’ll soon learn, he’s passionate about lemur conservation.
I think you’ll find the work he’s doing very inspiring. He shows how one person can make a difference when they take action. Plus, we’ve got special discount for you on a Lemur Bag! Without further ado, let’s dive in:
1. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Chris, and I originally come from the United States, Iowa to be exact, but also lived for many years in North Carolina. I’ve been traveling for over 5 years and consider Berlin, Germany my home base. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and absolutely addicted to traveling.
2. What made you start Lemur Bags? Did you have any experience in this sector?
I came up with the idea for Lemur Bags while traveling in SE Asia and got inspired by lots of great conservation efforts there. I’ve always loved lemurs and knowing they are critically endangered, combined with my desire to start a new company focusing on conservation, Lemur Bags was born. I didn’t have any experience in this sector before, but my enthusiasm for supporting lemur conservation efforts and creating an amazing product that people love outweighed my fear of diving into new territory.
3. I love that you choose to support lemurs, but I gotta ask, “Why lemurs”?
Over 90% of lemur species are endangered, most critically so. Many people don’t realize how critical their population is, and how much help they need from us right now; they’re the most endangered mammal on Earth. One of the amazing organizations supporting lemur conservation is Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC, near where I used to live and where I was first introduced to lemurs and the danger they’re in. Of course, there are many great causes worth supporting and organizations doing great things, but I’m an animal lover and felt that lemur efforts are lacking the funding they need to do the work they could be doing. Instead of creating a brand that spreads their efforts wide, I wanted to focus on one specific goal – keeping lemurs from becoming extinct.
4. When people purchase a bag, how are they helping lemurs?
I’ve done lots of research into the organizations supporting lemur conservation efforts. There are a few organizations in particular that I feel are doing an exceptional job, which include protecting the species itself, doing great productive research, and protecting Madagascar’s nature. Illegal deforestation is one of the biggest threats to lemur’s survival in the wild, and I feel that while protecting nature in general is important and necessary, it’s especially important when these practices threaten local wildlife, which are critical to an ecosystem. I will always be 100% open and transparent around where your money is going; and I want the organizations I work with to have the same values. Lemur Bags is currently working with LemurLove.org, Lemur Conservation Network and Duke Lemur Center – splitting the donation three equal ways. This will likely change in the future and I will always keep the website (LemurBags.com) up to date with details on who Lemur Bags is working with and donating to. In addition to simply donating, I’m talking with the organizations about personally joining them in Madagascar to volunteer for their conservation projects.
5. Tell us more about the bags and who they’re designed for.
Lemur Bags are affordable and high quality and come in a variety of cool colors and patterns. They’re 100% handmade from natural canvas and cotton material, with the duffel bags using recyclable polypropylene for its straps for extra strength. There are currently three available styles to choose from – a smaller drawstring day bag great for short hikes, going out on the town for a day, concerts, or going to the park. It can be carried like a handbag, thrown around your shoulder, or around your back like a backpack. The larger drawstring backpack style I use nearly every day, packing up my computer, water bottle, and some other various electronics in the front zippered pocket to go to work or going out for the day or doing a bit of shopping. The duffel bag is bigger and perfect for packing up your clothes and shoes for going to the gym or yoga, doing some shopping, bringing to a festival, or traveling and using as carry-on luggage. All three styles are lightweight and fold flat or roll up for easy packing.
6. What advice do you have for someone who believes in a cause, as you believe in lemur conservation, but doesn’t know where to start?
Get creative! Don’t limit yourself by thinking all you can do is donate some money to a charity you believe in. Think about volunteering so you can make a bigger impact, research the organizations to make sure their values align with your own or even consider starting something yourself. I wanted to make an impact in lemur conservation but also wanted to help others make an impact as well, amplifying our collective efforts to make a bigger difference.
7. Besides purchasing a bag, what’s one thing we can all do to save lemurs?
Educating yourself on the issue is the first big step. Visit some responsible conservation centers and see what efforts are being made to help them, and make sure you do your research before visiting. Many zoos are surprisingly irresponsible and are only making the problem worse, so it’s important to research before you visit. Also consider volunteering or taking a conservation tour for your next vacation. Many companies including Monkeys & Mountains Adventure Travel offer trips that are not only incredibly interesting and fun, but are also a chance to make a difference while traveling. Note: our Madagascar tour focusing on lemurs will be launching in July.
8. Where can people purchase a lemur bag?
You can visit Lemur Bags or find them on Amazon.com. They are currently only available in the United States, but I’m working to get them into Europe and the UK within the next few months. Readers of Monkeys & Mountains Adventure Travel get an exclusive 10% discount by using the discount code MONKEYSANDMOUNTAINS on LemurBags.com
9. What’s the most fascinating thing about lemurs that most people don’t know?
That’s a tough question, there are so many amazing things about lemurs! Most people are surprised by how much humans and lemurs have in common. Aside from their opposable thumbs and human-like fingers, they also have flat fingernails. They’re also very diverse with over 100 species, some are social like the ring-tailed lemur, while others like the aye-aye just want to be left alone. Some lemurs even stand on their hind legs while on the ground (which is adorable), and they’re one of only two non-human primates to have truly blue eyes! Finally, they’re very intelligent, even more so than monkeys and apes, and can solve puzzles, perform simple math, repeat patterns from memory, and learn to use tools.
A big thank you to Chris. Be sure to check out Lemur Bags and support lemur conservation efforts!
Please note the giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Gary!