The International Fund for Animal Welfare announced today a $250,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to support IFAW’s efforts to rescue animals from disasters, and to assist IFAW and its partners to prepare their rescue personnel for emergencies.
“Disney has been a committed supporter in IFAW’s mission to make the world better for animals,” said Ian Robinson, IFAW Animal Rescue Director. “We look forward to continuing to work together and going wherever we are needed to help suffering animals.”
For well over a decade, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has provided grants to help IFAW rescue and care for the animal victims of disasters, including after Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, the Asian tsunami and Haiti earthquake. Disney’s support has helped the nonprofit protect animals big and small – from elephants and tigers to household pets.
“After a devastating storm like Hurricane Sandy, communities are faced with a shortage of resources,” said Kim Sams, director of the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. “We are proud to support IFAW, and know that animals affected by such disasters are receiving care from the compassionate staff while impacted neighborhoods can focus on rebuilding.”
IFAW is a first responder for animals in distress in times of disasters. Its animal rescue team is currently deployed in New Jersey, helping to reunite families with the pets they were forced to leave behind because of Hurricane Sandy.
Disney Friends for Change, a global initiative that inspires kids and families to take action and make a difference in their communities, today announced that Disney Channel stars Debby Ryan (“Jessie”), Bella Thorne and Zendaya (“Shake It Up”), and Ross Lynch and Laura Marano (“Austin & Ally”) will serve as Friends for Change Ambassadors, encouraging kids and families to make a lasting, positive change by helping people, communities, and the planet.
In collaboration with select non-profit organizations, Disney Friends for Change Ambassadors will lead campaigns to engage millions of kids to take action and volunteer. Each nonprofit will receive a Disney Friends for Change grant to further the reach and impact of the themed campaign. In total, $750,000 will be awarded to the following three efforts:
- “Helping Communities – Volunteer,” led by Debby Ryan and in collaboration with Free The Children (from June 29 – August 16)
- “Helping People – Be a Leader,” featuring Bella Thorne and Zendaya, and in collaboration with Free The Children (from August 17 – September 27)
- “Helping the Planet – Green Your Scene,” championed by Ross Lynch and Laura Marano, and in collaboration with TreePeople (from September 28 – November 30)
“We are so excited about the real difference kids are making every day using our action kits and volunteering in their communities,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president for Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at The Walt Disney Company. “Through the leadership and encouragement of our Disney Friends for Change Ambassadors, we hope to inspire millions of more kids to take action and change their worlds.”
Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “The bond our viewers have with our talent is deep and powerful. As ambassadors of Friends for Change, our talent can serve as a megaphone for the importance of pro-active community involvement, motivating kids and their families to discover the many rewarding ways we can all make our world a better place to live.” He continued, “I often talk to my team about extending our value as a company beyond the TV screen, and this initiative does an exemplary job of that – and for this, I could not be prouder.”
As part of the program, Disney Channel will debut a series of interstitial messages, featuring the Disney Friends for Change Ambassadors beginning MONDAY, JUNE 18. Disney Channel, Radio Disney, and Disney.com will chronicle the Ambassadors throughout the summer as they volunteer and inspire kids of all ages to lead. Also part of the interstitial series and debuting FRIDAY, JUNE 29, Debby Ryan will share her personal experience volunteering in India through Disney Friends for Change with Free The Children, where she helped build a new school for a local village. Inspired by the stories and efforts of Disney Friends for Change kids, Debby helped to start the Ambassadors program.
To coincide with the on-air interstitials, Friends for Change will offer tools and resources at www.disney.com/friends where kids and families can discover additional ideas on how to make a difference. Site visitors are able to download action kits, learn more about the Ambassadors’ campaigns, and participate in the new Shout Out Module, an online forum that allows kids and families to motivate each other and exchange tips on actions to help their schools and neighborhoods. Families can also vote online to further support each Ambassador’s campaign and help thousands of more kids as a result.
After a 16-month gestation period, Kendi delivered her fourth calf Friday, May 4. The healthy male, which has not yet been named, is the ninth white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; his mother, 13-year-old, Kendi, was the first.
“The birth of a white rhino calf is certainly something to celebrate since the population of this species is endangered in the wild,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. “It’s encouraging that with protection and careful management, the global population of white rhinos continues to grow.”
The calf and mother doing well and are currently off the savannah bonding at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests will be able to see them when they return to the herd in the coming weeks.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The program focuses on sustaining the white rhino population in North America.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the success of the rhino breeding program has directly contributed to the conservation of other white rhinos in the wild. In 2006 two rhinos born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Nande and Hasani, joined four others at Ziwa Sanctuary to help reestablish a white rhino population in Uganda. So far, Nande has been responsible for two offspring — a male calf born in 2009 was the first rhino born in Uganda since the 1980s followed by a female white rhino born in 2011.
Disney’s commitment to conservation and rhinos goes beyond breeding. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have provided more than $1 million in support to programs in Africa and Asia to protect the last five remaining species of rhino. For more information on the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund visit www.waltdisneyworld.com/about.
White rhino fun facts:
- White rhinos are named not for their color, which is gray, but for the shape of their mouths. The word “weit” in Afrikaans means wide.
- The white rhino is among the world’s largest land mammals, second only to the elephant. A male rhino can grow to more than 5,000 pounds as an adult.
- A rhino can move its ears independently to pick up sounds but it depends most on smell.
- The receptors responsible for the rhino’s sense of smell are larger than the animal’s entire brain.
- The white rhinoceros has the widest set of nostrils of any land based animal.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort
In celebration of National Park Week, the National Park Foundation – the official charity of America’s national parks – today received a $500,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help connect kids and families to nature through America’s national parks. Disney’s investment will go specifically to the National Park Foundation’s “Ticket to Ride” and “America’s Best Idea” programs, which will help kids explore the outdoors by providing transportation to and supporting community projects at national parks around the country.
“We realize that funding for transportation is one of the greatest barriers preventing children from experiencing a national park field trip,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Disney’s support has helped make it possible for us to engage thousands of young people in life changing park experiences, and ultimately inspiring the next generation of park enthusiasts.”
The National Park Foundation launched “Ticket To Ride” earlier this year. Disney is the first corporate partner to join in the program’s mission, allowing tens of thousands of young people to experience America’s national parks this spring. The company’s grant also supports the National Park Foundation’s “America’s Best Idea” program, which connects diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the country with their national parks through innovative and meaningful experiences.
In addition to the grant, Disney’s Friends for Change – a program that inspires kids and families to make a positive impact on their world by helping people and the planet – developed a public service announcement (PSA) that will launch during National Parks Week and air on Disney Channel and Disney Online. The spot features Disney Channel star Caroline Sunshine (“Shake it Up”) and encourages kids and families to explore the outdoors, whether at a local, state, or national park. Disney Friends for Change also created an online action kit that helps families plan a park visit in four easy steps and provides ideas on park activities ranging from hikes to wildlife exploration.
“The more kids are exposed to the great outdoors, the more they appreciate and understand the beauty and value of our natural resources, from our national parks to our own backyards,” said Leslie Goodman, senior vice president of Disney Corporate Citizenship. “Disney is proud to work in collaboration with National Park Foundation to make a park experience possible for tens of thousands of young people. We hope that these outdoor adventures inspire lifelong conservation values.”
For more information on “Ticket to Ride,” “America’s Best Idea” or any of the National Park Foundation’s programs, please visit www.nationalparks.org.
Swinging into theaters April 20 with a $10.6 million opening-weekend performance, Chimpanzee proved so popular among audiences that Disneynature is extending the “See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees” conservation initiative for a second week. For every moviegoer who sees Chimpanzee through May 3, 2012, Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect chimpanzees today and tomorrow.
“In theaters just five days, Chimpanzee has already given us a lot to celebrate,” said Alan Bergman, president, The Walt Disney Studios. “Led by a young chimpanzee named Oscar, Chimpanzee has won the hearts of audiences nationwide. It’s because of that success that we decided to extend our program with the Jane Goodall Institute.”
“See Chimpanzee, Save Chimpanzees”—initially slated for the film’s opening week through April 26—will continue through the film’s second week till May 3—a first-ever extension to a Disneynature conservation program.
The news was well received by Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. “We couldn’t be happier to extend this collaboration to help the Jane Goodall Institute better protect chimpanzees and the places they call home,” she said. “A film like Chimpanzee helps spread the passion we have for these extraordinary beings, sharing the truly relatable moments experienced by Oscar and his fellow chimpanzees in a way that will hopefully inspire audiences to continue their support long after the movie ends.”
Disneynature takes moviegoers deep into the forests of Africa with Chimpanzee, a new True Life Adventure introducing an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his entertaining approach to life in a remarkable story of family bonds and individual triumph. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Working together, Oscar’s chimpanzee family—including his mom, Isha, and the group’s savvy leader, Freddy — navigates the complex territory of the forest. The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimpanzees, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever. Directed by Alastair Fothergill (African Cats and Earth) and Mark Linfield (Earth), and narrated by Tim Allen (Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, ABC’s ‘Last Man Standing’), Chimpanzee is in theaters now. For more information about Chimpanzee, visit Disney.com/Chimpanzee.
Rated G by the MPAA, Chimpanzee is in theaters now.
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests will have the opportunity to join crew members onboard Disney ships and on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, as part of the “Walk for Wildlife” campaign. This year, Disney Cruise Line will donate $5,000 on behalf of guests and crew members to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to support JGI’s chimpanzee conservation efforts.
Starting today and throughout next week, the guests and crew of all four Disney ships will have the opportunity to participate in a two-mile “Walk for Wildlife” either while visiting Castaway Cay in the Bahamas or while onboard the ship, completing six laps around the promenade deck.
“We are truly excited to provide this unique opportunity for our guests and crew members to connect with nature while raising money and awareness for a great cause,” said Rena Langley, Vice President of Public Affairs for Disney Cruise Line. “This is the fourth consecutive year our crew members have participated in ‘Walk for Wildlife,’ and we are confident that this year’s event will be even more special because our guests are participating for the first time.”
Nearly $30,000 has been given to environmental charities, as a result of company and personal crew member donations, since the program began three years ago. The walks first began as events exclusively for crew members, allowing them to show their commitment to conservation by making personal donations to environmental causes. Whether onboard our ships or on land, Disney Cruise Line promotes wildlife conservation, works to protect native animal species, shares environmental programs with guests and ports of call worldwide and educates others to inspire environmental action in daily life.
In honor of Earth Month, Disneynature has joined forces with the Jane Goodall Institute for a special “See ‘Chimpanzee,’ Save Chimpanzees” program. For every moviegoer who sees “Chimpanzee” during the film’s opening week (April 20-26), Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute through DWCF.
Roshon Fegan and Caroline Sunshine, stars of the hit Disney Channel series “Shake It Up,” will help spread the word about Disney Friends for Change program expansion, aimed to inspire kids and families to make a difference in their world by taking actions to help people, their communities and the planet. The young actors are featured in interstitials debuting Thursday, January 19 on Disney Channel. The messages invite kids to design their own service project and apply for a Disney Friends for Change Grant from Youth Service America at Disney.com/Friends to help put their ideas into action.
This year, Friends for Change is expanding and broadening efforts to not only help the planet, but to also make a lasting, positive impact on the people and animals that live on it. In communities across the globe, kids and families can organize and design projects such as organizing a food collection, planting a community garden or starting a Friends for Change club.
Kids and families are invited to visit Disney.com/Friends for additional ideas on how to make a difference, learn more about applying for a Friends for Change grant and find out about local service activities and events happening in their communities. Kids are also encouraged to make a Friends for Change pledge. In addition, project champions can check out the Friends for Change Action Kits.
Friends for Change is a multi-platform initiative that inspires kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world by helping people, communities and the planet. And while these activities may vary, they are united by an overarching emphasis on fostering creativity, conservation and compassion. Through PSAs on-air and online action kits, the program aims to provide useful resources to encourage kids to make small changes that add up to big differences. Friends for Change, along with Youth Service America provide grants to support youth-service projects in communities across the world. Friends for Change currently has almost five million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, China and the United States. For more information, please visit Disney.com/friends.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is responding immediately to needs of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance to protect endangered chimpanzees in Africa.
The Jane Goodall Institute was awarded $5,000 for veterinary supplies to vaccinate chimpanzees and staff against a dangerous measles outbreak at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human diseases, and the high cost of vaccines for 146 chimpanzees and 60 staff members jeopardized the team’s ability to cope with future medical emergencies.
The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) was also awarded $3,000 to assist in the relocation of four orphaned chimpanzees confiscated from smugglers in Sudan. The chimpanzees, Cocoa, Minni, Sarah, and Medina, are all orphans of bushmeat trade and are believed to have been smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are too young to be able to care for themselves but Minni and the others are adjusting well to their new sanctuary home in Uganda. DWCF helped cover the cost of air travel to relocate the chimpanzees from Sudan to Uganda.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Rapid Response Fund provides emergency funding to wildlife and wild places in the aftermath of disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and disease outbreaks. Since the beginning of 2011, DWCF has contributed more than $40,000 to emergency relief efforts worldwide including repairing an educational walkway damaged in a storm in Zimbabwe to allow for continued youth conservation education efforts, and supporting the needs of the International Primatological Society and Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums following the devastating earthquake in Japan. The funding for these emergency grants has been provided through a partnership with Disney’s Friends for Change and iTunes, thanks to several anthems created by stars from the Disney Channel. Coinciding with the premiere of the most recent song by Bridgit Mendler, “We can Change the World,” Disney contributed $250,000 to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help the planet when it needs it most.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) today announced the latest results of voting by kids on the Disney Friends for Change website. Disney Friends for Change is a multiplatform environmental initiative that helps kids help the planet. This round of voting is the first to include kids from around the world since Disney Friends for Change expanded into Latin America and Europe.
The voting is part of an overall call to action for kids to make a difference in their local communities. Registered participants make personal promises to reduce their impact on the environment by changing their everyday actions. They can also help allocate Disney’s $1 million commitment to fund environmental programs worldwide.
Voting is continuous throughout the year. Kids have the opportunity to vote on five different projects per quarter. Each project is managed by leading environmental nonprofit organizations. The projects are centered on Disney Friends for Change’s four focus areas — climate, habitat, waste and water. With nearly 2.5 million votes, Disney Friends for Change kids have helped direct almost $2 million to 41 projects in 21 countries since the program was launched in May 2009.
The award amount is contingent upon how many votes each project receives. This is the third round of award voting, and the first to include international votes. The results are as follows:
First Place, $100,000 award
BirdLife International, Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands: The project contributes to the conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a unique and highly threatened migratory shorebird. The project raises awareness among local governments and communities about the importance of the species and of the inter-tidal wetlands that are vital for its survival. This is the third project funded by Disney Friends for Change program in China, totaling $175,000 of support from the program in the country. Other funded projects in China include work supported by The Nature Conservancy as well as Roots and Shoots, a program supervised by the Jane Goodall Institute.
Second Place, $50,000 award
The Nature Conservancy, Protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest: The project trains local students to monitor local wildlife in an effort to protect the rainforest, home to such animals as grizzly bears and wolves. This is the first Disney Friends for Change program funded in Canada.
Third Place, $50,000
Fauna and Flora International, Iberian Lynx Habitat Conservation: Once considered common, the Iberian Lynx is now the rarest of all the cat species. Less than 100 of the Iberian Lynx now live in the wild. The population crash is due to habitat loss in Spain and Portugal and declining numbers of rabbits, the Iberian Lynx’s main food source. Flora and Fauna has purchased land in an effort to increase the rabbit population. The project will also work with local communities and school children to raise awareness about the Iberian Lynx. Fauna and Flora International has received $150,000 from Disney Friends for Change since its launch.
Fourth Place, $25,000
ECOLIFE Foundation, Aquaponic Economics: Going Ape in Cameroon: The ECOLIFE Foundation, in collaboration with Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, will build a community-based aquaponics system, an eco-friendly tool for raising fish and vegetables. The aim is to educate local residents about critical overhunting issues that are threatening wild gorillas and apes. The aquaponics system yields fish for high-quality protein and enough vegetables to be a source of income for local residents. This is the second Disney Friends for Change grant awarded to ECOLIFE.
Fifth Place, $25,000
Conservation International, Restoring Wetlands in Namaqualand: The project will work with local South African and Namibian communities to help conserve water by repairing damaged pumps and restoring natural ecosystems. Local volunteers will be trained to remove invasive species like poplar trees — which use up large amounts of ground water — and replace them with native vegetation. This award brings the total amount of support received by Conservation International from Disney Friends for Change to more than $50,000.
Since its launch in May 2009, Disney Friends for Change has already inspired more than 2.5 million kids to take more than 3 million actions to improve their environment in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Altogether, kids have pledged to save more than 1.5 billion gallons of water, recycle eight million pounds of trash and cut 52 million pounds of carbon emissions.
For more about the programs Disney Friends for Change supports, visit www.disney.com/projectgreen.
After a four-month rehabilitation at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, an adult male osprey was recently released at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort near the site where he was rescued earlier this summer. An eager group of Walt Disney World Cast Members and resort guests looked on as the bird took to the air for the first time since June.
The osprey was emaciated and listless when he was found on June 17. After receiving emergency care from Disney animal care experts, the raptor was transported to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Fla. for further treatment. After several months of intensive care, the bird was moved to the Center’s Magic of Flight barn to stretch his wings and complete the rehabilitation process.
Disney sponsored the building of the flight barn in 2001 and has provided ongoing support of the Center. As one of the few structures of its kind in the U.S., the flight barn is used to rehabilitate raptors, such as eagles, hawks, owls and ospreys, so they can ultimately be released back into the wild.
“It’s always nice seeing a bird released back where he belongs,” said EagleWatch Coordinator Lynda White, minutes after watching her most recent patient fly the coop at Lake Dorado. She attributed the successful release to the support of her staff and companies like Walt Disney World. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without Walt Disney World,” she said. “In fact, without Disney, there wouldn’t be an EagleWatch program or a flight barn at all.”
Several weeks prior to the osprey’s release, volunteers from Walt Disney World Resort joined staff at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey to refurbish the flight barn and its surroundings. Volunteers spent the day helping with roof repair, pressure cleaning, replacement of food boards and prey boxes, and re-wrapping very large perches.
“We were excited to pitch in to help spruce up the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, which provides so many services to both community and wildlife,” said Nancy Gidusko, director of Community Relations at Walt Disney World. In addition, Walt Disney World Community Relations gave the center a new pressure washer and sliding ladder for continued upkeep, and Disney’s Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives donated equipment for animal care.
Disney’s on-going support has enabled the flight barn to play a pivotal role in conserving and protecting Central Florida’s wildlife by helping thousands of birds regain their strength and stamina before returning to the wild.
Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Resort.