Burbank, Calif, June 4, 2009 – In celebration of World Environment Day, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) today announced the funding of programs that will support more than 90 species and promote habitat conservation in 33 countries. The 2009 DWCF grant recipients will receive almost $1.5 million for efforts ranging from protecting Pakistan’s majestic Snow Leopards, to following the migration of Magellanic penguins in Argentina to reintroducing endangered Whooping Cranes in eastern North America.
“Creating a positive ecosystem impact is a key goal of The Walt Disney Company. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is a natural extension of that philosophy, enabling leading environmental organizations and scientists to address some of the most critical issues facing animals and ecosystems around the world. We applaud these deserving recipients and are pleased to play a part in their efforts,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president, environmental affairs, The Walt Disney Company.
Now in its fourteenth year, the DWCF, through support from The Walt Disney Company and Disney Guests, has contributed more than $14 million to conservation projects for the study and protection of the world’s wildlife and habitats.
“The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is the only organization that has supported Operation Migration since its inception and we are grateful that they recognize how crucial sustained support is to our ability to establish a new generation of migrating whooping cranes,” said Liz Condie, COO of Operation Migration.
Programs receiving funds in 2009 include:
* American Museum of Natural History: Conserving Vietnam’s Grey-shanked Douc Langur monkey, Vietnam – American Museum of Natural History provides scientific, educational and management support for Western Que Son, a key conservation area in central Vietnam, to protect these critically endangered primates.
* Florida Atlantic University: Aiding Sea Turtle Conservation, Florida – In an effort to understand marine areas that are in need of protection, Florida Atlantic University researches where newly hatched sea turtles select their nurseries. The findings are used to estimate survival rates for the first hours of hatchling life at sea.
* International Elephant Foundation: Sumatran Elephants Working for Conservation, Sumatra, Indonesia – Elephants are seen as partners in fighting forest crime, rescuing animals and herding wild elephants away from human settlements. This program trains elephant patrol employees in conservation techniques and elephant care, as well as community outreach efforts.
* Painted Dog Conservation Trust: Iganyana Children’s Bush Camp, Zimbabwe – This camp inspires children to care about the environment through games and other hands-on activities about the ecological relationships in the teak woodlands.
* Rainforest2Reef: Wildlife Conservation in Calakmul, Mexico – Rainforest2Reef helps protect endangered jaguars by preserving more than 300,000 acres of Mexican rainforests, the habitat for the largest population of big cats in Central America.
Along with a focus on support for species and habitat conservation science, DWCF encourages programs that engage local residents and benefit both human and animal communities.
Since 1998, the DWCF has awarded more than $450,000 in Rapid Response funds to assist with more than 100 environmental and animal emergencies. In the past year, the DWCF Rapid Response Fund has been deployed to assist the Giant Pandas program following China’s earthquakes, care for orphaned chimpanzees in Africa, and restore hurricane ravaged wildlife sanctuaries in Texas.
The DWCF awards reflect The Walt Disney Company’s more than 60 year environmental legacy and play a pivotal role in realizing the company’s recently announced long-term environmental goals with respect to ecosystems. To learn more about Disney’s commitment to the environment, visit www.disney.com/crreport.