Patricia Wright

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Patricia Wright
Patricia Chapple Wright

(1944-09-10) September 10, 1944 (age 74)
Alma materHood College
City University of New York
OccupationPrimatologist, anthropologist, conservationist

Patricia Chapple Wright (born September 10, 1944) is an American primatologist, anthropologist, and conservationist. Wright is best known for her extensive study of social and family interactions of wild lemurs in Madagascar. She established the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments at Stony Brook University. She worked extensively on conservation and contributed to the establishment of the Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar.

Early life[edit]

Patricia Wright was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, on 10 September 1944 to Julia Delores, a school librarian and Hugh Edward Chapple, a foundry supervisor.


Wright obtained a bachelor's degree in biology in 1966 from Hood College. She later went on to obtain her Ph.D. in Anthropology from City University of New York in 1985 under the direction of Warren Kinzey.


In 1986 Wright traveled to Madagascar in search of the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus), a species abundant at the sub-fossil lemur sites of the north but believed to have gone extinct in the recent past. She found that the greater bamboo lemur still exists and discovered a new species that was named Hapalemur aureus, the golden bamboo lemur.

Centre ValBio[edit]

Patricia Wright established the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments at Stony Brook University that is dedicated to science-based conservation and research in the tropics, with a special focus on Madagascar. It coordinates the work of many natural and social scientists throughout Madagascar, especially around Ranomafana National Park. It operates a modern research station in Madagascar called Centre ValBio.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]


  • 2014 – First Woman Winner of Indianapolis Prize for Conservation
  • 2014 – Featured in CNN's Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain
  • 2014 – Lifetime Achievement Award from Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
  • 2014 – Honorary Degree (Honoris Causa) from University of Fianarantsoa, Madagascar
  • 2014 – Featured in 3D IMAX film Island of Lemurs: Madagascar with Morgan Freeman
  • 2013 – Elected to American Philosophical Society
  • 2012 – Awarded Commandeur Medal of Honor, Government of Madagascar
  • 2011 – Finalist for the Indianapolis Prize for Conservation
  • 2008 – Stony Brook University Faculty Achievement Award
  • 2008 – Hauptman Woodward Pioneer in Science Medal
  • 2008 – Distinguished Primatologist Award from American Society of Primatologists
  • 2007 – Awarded Honoris Causa, honorary degree from University of Antananarivo
  • 2007 – Ranomafana National Park named UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • 2006 – A new species from Kalambatritra, Madagascar named Lepilemur wrighaeti
  • 2006 – Cosmos Prize Selection Committee, Osaka, Japan
  • 2006 – Explorers Club Lecture Series
  • 2006 – 2010 Member of Smithsonian Biodiversity Task Force
  • 2004 – Elected AAAS Fellow
  • 2004 – "Medaille Officier de Madagascar". High honor awarded by the President of Madagascar
  • 2003 – "Woman of Distinction" Award, given by Senator Kenneth LaValle
  • 2003 – -2011 Member of National Geographic Conservation Trust
  • 2003 – Royal Geographical Society Invited Speaker, London, United Kingdom
  • 2002 – James Watson Presidential Council speaker at Symposium "Human Behavior in the Genomic Age" Cold Spring Harbor, NY
  • 2002 – National Research Council, The National Academies Committee
  • 2001 – 2009-Member of National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration
  • 2001 – Provost's Lecture Series, SUNY Stony Brook
  • 2000 – Present Member of Board of Directors of Comparative and Conservation Biology Foundation
  • 2000 – "Principal Investigator of the Year." Earthwatch Institute
  • 1998 – 2003 Member of International Society of Primatology Conservation Committee
  • 1995 – 1998 Advisory Board of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
  • 1995 – "Chevalier d'Ordre National." National Medal of Honor of Madagascar, from the President of Madagascar
  • 1995 – Women in Science Engineering Annual Award, SUNY
  • 1994 – present Madagascar Faunal Group, International Board
  • 1994 – 2000 Scientific Advisory Board member of The Douroucouli Foundation
  • 1994 – present Advisory Board of Primate Conservation Inc.
  • 1994 – 1996 Advisory Board of the Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University
  • 1994 – Women of the Year in Science Award, Three Village Times, New York
  • 1993 – 2001 Member of Board, Organization for Tropical Studies
  • 1993 – 1999 Member of Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy, Long Island Chapter
  • 1993 – Women Who Make a Difference Award, Family Circle Magazine
  • 1990 – present Member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Primatology
  • 1991 – present Member of External Advisory Board, Duke University Primate Center
  • 1991 – present IUCN Primate Specialists Group-Madagascar
  • 1990 – Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Hood College
  • 1990 – 1991 Member of National Research Council Committee for Sustained Development & Environmental Preservation of Humid Tropics
  • 1989 – John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow
  • 1988 – 1994 Member of Conservation Committee for American Society of Primatologists
  • 1984 – present IUCN Primate Specialists Group-South America
  • 1982 – "S.L. Washburn Prize" for outstanding student paper at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting, Eugene, Oregon


TV and films[edit]

Print and radio features[edit]


  • 2014 – For the Love of Lemurs: My Life in the Wilds of Madagascar published by Lantern Books ISBN 978-1590564455
  • 2013 – High Moon Over the Amazon: My Quest to Understand the Monkeys of the Night published by Lantern Books ISBN 9781590564219
  • 2011 – Larrey, Frederic; Wright, Patricia C.; Giraud, Cyril. Madagascar: The Forest of Our Ancestors. France: Regard du Vivant Press. ISBN 978-2952996921.
  • 2003 –Wright, Patricia C.; Simons, Elwyn L.; Gursky, Sharon, eds. (2003). Tarsiers: Past, Present and Future. Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813532361.


External links[edit]