In 1997, the foundation bought 40 acres in rural Manatee County, Florida. The reserve, now home to over 50 lemurs, has since expanded to 130 acres and encompasses diverse vegetation zones that range from freshwater marsh to scrub to oak-pine mixed forest.
As we celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2016, we reviewed our historic growth and with a keen eye anticipate needs and aspirations for the next 20 years. Today, we are proud that LCF is recognized as a premier Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facility and regarded as a preeminent site for educators and scientific researchers internationally.
But there is no time for a victory lap when lemurs are in such trouble today, making lemur conservation, research, education, and breeding programs more important than ever. LCF needs to further physical expansion and programmatic exploration to help lemurs survive.
In 2016, we launched the Leap for Lemurs capital campaign, a $2.2 million initiative that will:
- Increase much-needed forest habitats and shelter for LCF’s growing population of endangered lemurs
- Provide a veterinary clinic and indoor/outdoor quarantine shelter
- Build an on-site maintenance shop
- Underwrite operational costs
This expansion will allow us to continue our successful conservation breeding program and foster more scientific research on undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.
Our initiatives will also inspire stewardship of the earth’s environment and move students and visitors of all ages to develop a greater understand and appreciation of lemur natural history.
As of January 2018, nearly 75% of the campaign has been funded with the spectacular generosity of our Board and other leading donors, as well as the tremendous support for our Annual Fund. We invite you to partner with us in our expansion by helping to achieve our $2.2 million goal by December 2018.
To learn more about the Leap for Lemurs capital campaign and giving options, please contact Tora Buttaro, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (941) 322-8494.
Currently, two forests, each about 10 acres and surrounded by a 13-foot fence, allow many of the resident ring-tailed, red-ruffed, mongoose, brown, collared, and Sanford’s 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.
With the on-site lemur population growing, LCF is planning a third forest, a palmetto prairie which LCF has seeded with oaks and pines.
Within the main forest, the Reed and Barbara Toomey Lemur Pavilion provides space for food preparation and housing for lemurs in times of physical or environmental stress, such as hurricanes. It has eight climate-controlled indoor and outdoor enclosures. Serving a similar function in the second forest is 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.
The heart of human activity at the Myakka reserve is the Mianatra Center for Lemur Studies. It combines office and meeting space with the Anne & Walter Bladstrom Library. LCF’s eclectic holdings, from scientific journals to art, provide a holistic vision of conservation.
Staff caretakers, interns, and visiting students and scientists can stay in one of three residences on or near the reserve: Fisher Caretaker’s Cottage, Tranosoa Myakka (Myakka Welcome House), and the Researchers’ House.
Nuts and Bolts by Mark Fazzone, LCF Reserve Manager
February 2018 – Since arriving on the reserve a few months ago, I’ve had so many fun, insightful and wonderful experiences. I asked if I could begin sharing my adventures with you.
As LCF Reserve Manager, I’m the person to call when something breaks or isn’t working correctly. That means I’m pretty much nearly everywhere everyday and having the time of my life. Learning the ins and outs at the reserve is no small task. There’s so much that needs to be done regularly to take care of our special charges.