The Lemur Conservation Foundation was founded in 1996 by Penelope Bodry-Sanders. In 1997, she set up camp on 30 acres in Myakka City, Florida to begin engaging supporters and fulfilling our mission to save and protect endangered lemurs. The reserve has since expanded to 130 acres and encompasses diverse vegetation zones that range from freshwater marsh to scrub to oak-pine mixed forest. Today, we are proud that LCF is recognized as an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Certified Related Facility and regarded as a preeminent site for educators and scientific researchers internationally.
The heart of human activity at the reserve is the Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies (‘mianatra’ is the Malagasy word for ‘learning’). It combines office and meeting space with the Anne and Walter Bladstrom Library, which provides access to books and scientific journals for visiting students and researchers. Pieces from LCF’s permanent art collection are on display in the library.
Husbandry staff, interns, and visiting students and scientists can stay in residences on the reserve.
Currently, lemur forest habitats, each nearly 10 acres and surrounded by a 13-foot fence, allow many of the resident lemurs to range freely. Plantings of mango, passion fruit, guava, grapes, banana, persimmon, and bamboo supplement indigenous vegetation. This habitat invites authentic behaviors, improving breeding success and enabling scientific research and field training.
The Reed and Barbara Toomey Lemur Pavilion within one of the forests provides space for food preparation and housing for lemurs in times of physical or environmental stress, such as hurricanes. Serving a similar function in the Marilyn K. North Lemur Lodge, which includes a dedicated veterinary room.
Outside the forests, the Michael & Jean Martin Quarantine Shelter allows LCF to isolate newcomers and breeding transfers.
Although secondary to lemur conservation, our environmental stewardship extends to local habitats and wildlife. LCF wetlands contribute directly to the head waters of the Myakka River, and LCF has worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and the South West Florida Water Management District to ensure that construction on the reserve does not harm the extensive wetland system. Roaming the property is an incredible variety of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including river otters, indigo snakes, gopher tortoises, and great horned owls.