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Lemur Conservation Foundation

Myakka City Lemur Reserve

The 100 acre Myakka City Lemur Reserve is located in extreme eastern Manatee County surrounded on all sides by agriculture. A variety of habitat types occur on the site due to topographical gradients, various soil types and historical land-uses, allowing environmental diversity on the reserve. The vegetation zones are defined as oak-pine mixed forest, upland coniferous forest, live oak hammock, mixed rangeland, pine flatwoods, scrub and brush land, palmetto prairie, freshwater marsh, and wetland mixed forest. The lemur enclosures are located in the forests. Every effort is being made to maintain the colony in as natural a state as possible so that behavioral research will be maximally unbiased.

Lemurs on the Reserve

Currently 40 lemurs (7.4 Lemur catta, 1.0 Eulemur coronatus, 1.1 Eulemur collaris, 7.5 Eulemur mongoz, 1.0 Eulemur albifrons, 5.0 Varecia rubra, 2.3 Eulemur sanfordi, 3.1 Eulemur fulvus fulvus) are living on the reserve.

The Foundation works closely with Duke University Lemur Center, Dr. Ian Tattersall and the rest of the LCF Scientific Advisory Council, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group, and the Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinators to ensure that the colony is maintained and utilized as a prime research and breeding resource.

ringtailed lemurs red-ruffed lemur

Reserve Facilities and Grounds 

Two forested 13-acre+ enclosures are surrounded by 13-foot electrified chain link fences (only the top three feet of the fence are electrified, and that with low voltage), and the remaining acres currently serve as a buffer zone for the reserve.

The existing indigenous vegetation has been supplemented by plantings of mango, passion fruit, guava, grapes, banana, persimmon, and bamboo species already found to be widespread in Florida.

Within the main forest enclosure, the Reed and Barbara Toomey Lemur Pavilion, a beautifully designed cinder-block building divided into eight indoor and outdoor enclosures, serves to house the lemurs in times of environmental stress, i.e., hurricanes, electrical storms, controlled fires, the unusual freezing night, or at any other time the animals should not be free-ranging. The outside area of chain-link attached to the building permits the animals to move into the sunlight by day while remaining confined. Within the air-conditioned and heated shelter is a food preparation room with a refrigerator/freezer, sink, hot water heater, examination table and cabinets used for storage.

Around the door of the shelter, New York artist Barbara Sandler has painted a lovely frieze featuring fruits and flowers that lemurs love to eat.

Tomoey Pavilian entrance   Toomey Shelter
Reed and Barbara Toomey Lemur Pavilion

The second 13-acre enclosure of mostly slash pine forest is called the Jim Toomey Woods, a great habitat for our lemurs. Within the enclosure is the newest shelter, the Marilyn K. North Lemur Lodge. The North Lemur Lodge doubles the amount of room available for lemurs and includes a separate veterinary room. CF artist Mary Fussell designed and underwrote an exuberant etched and sandblasted entrance door to the shelter.

North Lodge
Marilyn K. North Lemur Lodge in the Jim Toomey Woods

The Michael & Jean Martin Quarantine Shelter is primarily used for lemurs arriving at the Reserve. Newcomers must be confined for 30 days to ensure that they are healthy and disease-free. The shelter has two rooms that can accommodate two different groups of lemurs.

quarantine shelter
Michael & Jean Martin Quarantine Shelter

Outside the forest enclosure there is Fisher Caretaker's Cottage, which houses the full time manager/caretaker. There is also a 20' x 40' greenhouse, in which cold sensitive fruiting plants are grown under organic conditions for the animals.

Fisher Caretaker's Cottage
The Fisher Caretaker's Cottage

The Researchers' House
is a fully furnished house on site for visiting researchers with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths.

Researchers House

dining roomkitchen

bedroom living room

The Tranasoa Myakka (Myakka Welcome House), on 5 acres adjacent to the 100 acre reserve will serve as staff housing and also accommodate visiting researchers and professors.

Tranasoa Myakka House 

 Tranasoa Myakka House

Tranasoa interior

 View from  Tranasoa Myakka   Tranasoa grounds
Tranasoa Myakka

In 2004, a 14-acre palmetto prairie called Red Dog Woods was cleared on the Reserve and planted with 8000 trees, mostly native oaks and pines. In 15-20 years when the trees mature, it will be fenced to make the 3rd forested enclosure for additional lemurs.

Red Dog Woods
Red Dog Woods

The Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies and the Anne & Walter Bladstrom Library serve as an on-site educational resource facility, the centerpiece of the Myakka City Lemur Reserve campus. The Center supports LCF staff, scientists, researchers, students and visitors in their efforts to better understand the nature, ecology and conservation of the primates of Madagascar.

The Center comprises staff offices, a spacious reading/conference room equipped with the latest audio-visual and computer technology, and the lemur library made up of virtual, digital and physical collections about "all things lemur." Essentially, it is a one-stop globally accessible information resource about lemurs and will serve as a model for other resources worldwide.

Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies
Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies


Association of Zoos & Aquariums                                     
P.O. Box 249, Myakka City, Florida 34251 | 941-322-8494 | copyright ¬©2009 Lemur Conservation Foundation                                                              
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