SANIBEL, Fla.- Two lemurs are making their mark on Sanibel Island. People have spotted the exotic animals at least three different times. And now, they want to know how animals from Madagascar made their way to Southwest Florida.
"I thought that they were raccoons and I looked again and they were lemurs," said Kenneth Kelly.
The news of two lemurs touring Sanibel, is something far out of left field. These lemurs live on Sanibel, but the ones people have seen haven't been caught on camera.
"It didn't really process, I mean what are lemurs doing on the island here?" said Kelly.
They are believed to look similar to the lemurs at the Periwinkle Campground. However, the exotic duo is still on the loose.
"I laughed, not because I was making fun of him, but I actually had two other reports and lemurs are native to Madagascar," said Holly Milbrandt, Environmental Biologist with the City of Sanibel.
The pair has made their way from one end of the island to other end. Once spotted on Sanibel- Captiva Road near Blind Pass and again on Tarpon Bay Road near the Bailey Tract entrance. But the latest sighting was at Sanibel City Hall.
"One was in a tree and one was on the bridge standing behind me, they were startled, I was startled, and we just stood there and stared at each other for a minute," said Kelly.
Biologist Holly Milbrandt says these ring tail lemurs may have figured out a way to escape or may have been released on Sanibel for an unknown reason.
"They for sure didn't come from Madagascar!"
She says Sanibel has the resources for this duo to fend for themselves.
"They are generally omnivores, eat a variety of different foods, both plants and mainly insects, so we certainly have plenty of that here," said Milbrandt.
The Periwinkle Campground tells us they have all of their lemurs accounted for. If you do spot the lemur duo, you are asked to call the Sanibel Police Departments non-emergency line. Also, lemurs do live in captivity, but with the proper FWC permit, they can be kept as pets.