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Lemur Conservation Foundation


The Lemur Conservation Foundation was established in 1996 as the Lower Primate Conservation Foundation by Penelope Bodry-Sanders. During the 17 years that followed LCF has become a leader in the conservation and preservation of the primates of Madagascar through programs dedicated to scientific research, education, and a committment to incorporate art into our programs.

Ms. Bodry-Sanders forged lasting partnerships with leaders in conservation biology and generous,committed donors. Her inspiration, vision, and leadership guided LCF to become a respected voice for science, conservation, education, art, and lemurs, the iconic image of the conservation challenges and environmental stewardship facing Madagascar and the world today

Here are some highlights of The Lemur Conservation Foundation's growth and development since its founding in 1996:


Founded the Lower Primate Conservation Foundation (LPCF)

Obtained 501 C tax-exempt status

Received first individual grant(Judy Rasmuson and Ron Wallace - $10,000)


Initiated Five-Year Campaign to build reserve and make it operational

Purchased initial 40 acres in Myakka City for the lemur reserve

Awarded first foundation grant (Richard Lousbery Foundation - $25,000)


Developed reserve land throughout year.


Received first major gift ($100,000 from Reed and Barbara Toomey)allowing completion of reserve's shelter and fence.

Received second major gift ($25,000 from Emily H. Fisher Alexander) for Reserve manager's cottage

Brian Grossi joined the team as Manager of the Myakka City Lemur Reserve (MCLR)A special note: Dr. Brian Grossi received his DVM degree in 2013

Welcomed initial 11 lemurs from Duke University Primate Center (DUPC)


Celebrated the Official Grand opening of Myakka City Lemur Reserve in February 2000

Received $100,000 commitment from Emily H. Fisher (Alexander ) for the Reserve Office & Lemur  Research Center

Secured AZA SSP status for Mongoose lemurs; and welcomed two Mongoose lemurs from Philadelphia Zoo and DUPC


Opened Reserve Office & Research Center

Hosted first scientific researchers

Purchased contiguous 50 acres through the generosity of John and Emily Alexander;enlarging reserve to 90 acres

Changed name of Foundation from LPCF to LCF (Lemur Conservation Foundation) in June 2001

Received 2 Crowned lemurs from DUPC (June)

Completed first five-year campaign, totaling $967,055, thanks to LCF Trustees, Scientific Advisory Council and dedicated donors.


Obtained AZA SSP status for Red Ruffed lemurs

Obtained AZA SSP status for Ring-tailed lemurs

Hosted first Field Training Site Program - Dr. Linda Taylor

Received 4 Red-Ruffed lemurs from Mackie Grove Zoo and San Diego Zoo

Celebrated first birth on the Reserve, Alejandro, a male Mongoose lemur

Started the "Securing the Lemur Legacy" campaign with a goal of $1,700,000


Hosted Field Training Program - Dr. Linda Taylor

Celebrated birth of Emilia, a female Mongoose lemur

Moved Coronatus lemurs to St. Catherine's Island

Finished construction on LCF office/guest house to comply with ADA regulations

Received three new ring-tailed lemur males

Received a breeding pair of mongoose lemurs


LCF manager Brian Grossi left MCLR staff to begin veterinary school

Hired new LCF program manager, Monica Hoffine, and assistant manager, Katie Chapman

Hosted Field Training Program - Dr. Linda Taylor

Judy Rasmuson and Anne Bladstrom joined the LCF board of directors

Sustained Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan &Jeanne between August and September

Received permit to built a new lemur shelter

Received research grant from the Hubert & Ruth DeLynn Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota

Achieved and surpassed the goals of the "Securing the Lemur Legacy" Campaign two years ahead of schedule

Sent Alexandra & Adea (female ring-tailed lemurs) to Chehaw Zoo in GA.

Planted 15 acres of the Reserve with 8,000 saplings to create Red Dog Woods, an additional habitat for our lemurs


Started construction on the Marilyn K. North new Lemur Lodge

Added a new Board member, Dr. George Amato

Planted 90 oak trees in Red Dog Woods thanks to the generosity of Paul and Marianne Dent and an additional 36 oaks and 12 loquats thanks to a donation by Darrell Turner of Turner Tree and Landscape


Received certification from the AZA, (Association of Zoos & Aquariums,)as a related Facility

Darrell Turner joined the LCF board of directors

Tyann Marsh joined the LCF team as Assistant Manager

Hosted Field Training Program with Dr. Natalie Vasey

Completed construction on the Marilyn K. North Lemur Lodge

Started and completed construction on the Michael & Jean Martin Quarantine Shelter

Started and completed construction on the Center for Lemur Studies

Acquired a new guest house near the Reserve through the generosity of John and Emily Fisher Alexander. Named Tranosoa Myakka (Myakka Welcome house in Malagasy,) the guest house serves as staff housing for visiting researchers and professors.

Completed construction of Tranasoa Tampolo, a guest house in Tampolo Forest Station, our sister reserve.


-The Anne & Walter Bladstrom Library begins to take shape on the Internet with an online catalog and the start of a digitized collection.

Kate Lippincott joins the LCF team as the first librarian.

The Calgary Zoo donated two mongoose lemurs and the Jardin Zoologique donated two

ring-tailed lemurs. The four lemurs arrived in November after extensive travel arrangements were coordinated requiring cooperation from Canadian and U.S. authorities.

Red ruffed lemur triplets were born in late April.

Two students participate in LCF's two-week field-training internship program.

The Teachers Institute for Conservation Biology launched in June. The two-week pilot program is a huge success.

Pete Shover joined the LCF team as handyman.

Red ruffed triplets day 3
Red ruffed triplets 3 days old, April 2007.


LCF's first Penelope Bodry-Sanders and Mackarness M. Goode Animal Husbandry intern, Alex Porpora, began her 6-month internship in January.

Bamboo lemurs, collared lemurs and crowned lemurs arrive from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Duke and Chehaw to join the colony on the Myakka City Lemur Reserve.

Red-ruffed lemur triplets and mongoose lemur twins are born in the summer.

Toomey Woods undergoes a prescribed burn in March.

The Researchers house is completely repainted inside.

The second annual Teachers Institute for Conservation Biology was held at the reserve in August with high school science educators from across the country participating in the week-long training.

LCF initiates a new distance education program in conjunction with Montclair State University.The 6 session program offered to K-12 classes is called Lemur Tales: Lessons from the Forest. Alex Porpora, former intern, takes over as distance learning coordinator.

Renovation and expansion of Reed and Barbara Toomey Lemur Pavilion begins in the Fall.

Toomey  Shelter renovation   Toomey Shelter renovation

Out with the old (left) and in with the new (right).
Toomey Pavilion expands and receives new caging and a fresh coat of paint, December 2008.


LCF team visited Madagascar with Artist Alexis Rockman, in association with 'A Fable For Tommorrow' and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

During the Madagascar journey the team visited the Protected Area of Tampolo in Analanjirofo (Tampolo Forest Station), LCF’s sister reserve to see the Centre EnviroKidz Tampolo building. The Centre is an environmental classroom by day for schoolchildren from the region. They attend classes on Tampolo’s natural history and also explore the forest,its lemurs, birds, and other critters. After school hours, the Centre doubles as a community center for children and adults.

Dr. Daniel Weiss, Associate Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University, visited the reserve to gain a better understanding of cognition in lemurs.

In May 2009, Dr. Lauren Highfill, psychology professor at Eckerd College, initiated a multi-year research project looking at personality traits in lemurs.


Three geodesic dome lemur shelters were constructed in the forest enclosues. The domes rpovide protection for our free-ranigng lemurs during extreme weather like tropical storms and hurricanes, provide a means to control humidity and regulate temperature, and enable animal care staff to manage our lemrs' health and well being more efficiently.

LCF celebrated 3 births in 2010: Oliver, a male collared lemur, Harp, a male ring-tailed lemur, and Merlot, a male common brown lemur.

Lemur Art Ltd., and Madagascar Postcard project were launched along with the Alexis Rockman Project, and the LCF/Ringling College of Art and Design Partnership.

Dr. Erik Patel joined the LCF Scientific Advisory Council.


Lee Nesler joins LCF as Executive Director & CEO.

Our efforts to maintain the highest professional standards of care and scientific practice were acknowledged by LCF’s recertification by AZA in 2011. "Myakka City Lemur Reserve is one of the best in the world because it has met the highest standards in the world," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "It takes hard work and dedication to meet Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Standards."

In Janruary 2011 LCF hosted MIFOHAZA! Wake Up! at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. The event featured the music of Malagassy srtist Razia Said

The first 'Misaotra Myakka' Open House welcomed 150 guests to the reserve in October.

After spending 10 years at LCF, Monica Mogilewsky was accepted as a doctoral candidate at Portland State University's School of the Environment, working with the research group, Conservation Biology and Ecology. Ms. Mogilewsky began her association with LCF as a New College of Florida student working on her thesis, and progressed to assistant animal care person, Manager of Lemur Care, Director, Research and Operations, and finally Assistant Executive Director.

Pattie Walsh is promoted to the key position of Director of Research and Operations in October 2011. As Director of the Research Program, Ms. Walsh is the acting liaison with the LCF Scientific Advisory Committee, the IACUC- Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (an external committee that oversees the animal welfare policies at the reserve) and supervises researchers from around the globe that come to the unique LCF campus. As Director of Operations, Ms. Walsh ensures that LCF is in full compliance with all state and local regulatory requirements throughout the year.

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy,and Dr. Jeff Wyatt joined the LCF Scientific Advisory Council.


LCF Executive Director & CEO, Lee Nesler, traveled to Zurich for a meeting of the Madagascar Fauna Group, where LCF serves as a Managing Member. She then traveled to Madagascar for a month of program and strategy meetings with key stake holders in the communities where LCF has partnerships.

'The Ako Series, Lemur Adventures in Madagascar.'was published in English.

LCF forms an important partnership with University of Florida at Gainsville's College of Veterinary Medicine.


LCF Executive Director & CEO will return to Madagascar in August with Dr. Ian Tattersall.

Dr. Natalie Vasey's undergraduate students at Portland State University now receive college credit for their work in LCF's Field Training Program. Dr. Vasey and Portland State University joins Dr. Linda Talyor's University of Miami program in offering college credit for students' work at LCF. Graduates of Dr. Taylor's program at LCF have earned 7 doctorate degrees, 3 Fulbright Scholarships, and now conduct their own field research in Madagascar and other countries around the world.

Dr. Alison Grand joined LCF staff as Animal Care Manager.

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