Disney Donates $250K to IFAW for Disaster Relief for Pets

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.

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Disney Cruise Line Guests Invited to Join Crew in ‘Walk for Wildlife’ Campaign

Disney Cruise Line Walk for WildlifeFor 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.

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Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund Provides Emergency Support for Chimpanzees

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.

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Elephant Calf Welcomed into World at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New male elephant African Elephant calf with with mother, VashaThe elephant herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom got just a little larger with the birth of a baby calf. Weighing 311 pounds, the male African elephant was welcomed into the group by his mother Vasha, 10 herd members and a team of animal care professionals assisting with the birth.

The 25-year-old mother delivered the herd’s sixth offspring after gaining more than 800 pounds during a 22-month gestation. This latest addition, which has yet to be named, is the second calf for Vasha, who gave birth to a female calf, Kianga, in 2004.

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Is Disneyland Shanghai’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ a Call-to-Action for Giant Pandas in Orlando?

Disney pandaTake a leisurely stroll along the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort and you’ll encounter many of Asia’s exotic animal inhabitants from the Komodo dragon of Indonesia to the Bengal tigers of India. What you won’t find, however, are the coveted giant pandas of China.

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Rehabbed Osprey Released Back Into Wild at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort

Osprey release at Coronado Springs Resort. Photo courtesy Walt Disney World ResortAfter 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.

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Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Names 2010 ‘Disney Conservation Heroes’

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) announced the recipients of the “Disney Conservation Heroes” award for 2010 today during the annual meeting of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The award recognizes citizens around the world for their tireless efforts at the local level to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate the communities around them.

“Conservation efforts around the globe and in our own backyard rely on the local community and direct involvement of dedicated people like our Disney Conservation Heroes,” said Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President, Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “These are extraordinary individuals who are passionate about protecting animals and habitats in areas of critical concern.”

This year’s honorees represent conservation programs in six countries and three continents that concentrate on a wide array of animal species from sea turtles to chimpanzees. They were nominated by nonprofit environmental organizations and AZA zoos and aquariums committed to field conservation programs.

Each award recipient and their nominating organization will share a $1,000 award from the DWCF. This year’s recipients include:

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Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Announces 2010 Grant Recipients

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has announced the 2010 recipients of nearly $1.5 million in grants to protect vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems around the world. The funding enables nonprofit organizations to provide support for more than 45 species across the globe–from protecting the critically endangered Sumatran rhino in Indonesia, to tracking northern jaguars in the foothills of Mexico, to studying the threats of the endangered green sea turtle.

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Over 35,000 Acres of Coral Reef to be Saved by ‘OCEANS’ Moviegoers

Coral Reef Protected by donations from Disneynature on behalf of moviegoersDisneynature announced today that its “See ‘OCEANS,’ Save Oceans” campaign will protect more than 35,000 acres of coral reef in The Bahamas on behalf of the moviegoers who came out to see Disneynature’s motion picture “Oceans” during its opening week.  Through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Disneynature will help establish new marine protected areas through the The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt a Coral Reef program. At 55 square miles, this protected area of coral reefs will be almost two-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan or the equivalent of more than 412 Disneylands, supporting the expansion of the Westside National Park of Andros.

The Bahamas represent an important ecosystem, straddling the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.  The 700 islands that comprise The Bahamas contain miles of vital coral reefs, which are the foundation of a healthy ocean environment, providing shelter, nurseries and feeding grounds for hundreds of marine species, including dolphins, sea turtles and a wide range of fish. Scientists estimate that the coral reefs of the Caribbean could be gone in 50 years without a network of well-managed marine protected areas.

“We’re excited to once again collaborate with The Nature Conservancy on an initiative that takes the impact of Disneynature’s storytelling to an entirely new level,” said Alan Bergman, president of The Walt Disney Studios. “The health of our oceans is absolutely vital to the well-being of our planet and thanks to the supporters of Disneynature’s motion picture ‘Oceans,’ this investment in marine conservation will help ensure critical aquatic environments will thrive for future generations.”

“Disneynature has captured the beauty, wonder and fragility of our world’s marine habitats and species in ‘Oceans,’ said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “We appreciate Disney’s commitment to help protect marine areas in The Bahamas, which is home to 30 percent of all coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. With Disneynature’s support, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are making significant progress toward our ambitious goal of doubling the total amount of marine protected area in The Bahamas.”

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Elephants May Fear and Warn of Bees According to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Study

A microphone records the sounds from nearby elephants. © DisneyAlthough elephants may be the largest land mammal, they may also have an inherent fear of bees and know how to communicate that threat to each other.

That’s the conclusion of a team of researchers from Save the Elephants, Oxford University and Disney’s Animal Kingdom who have discovered a new alarm call made by elephants in response to the threat of bees. Working with herds of elephants in Kenya, scientists theorize that this unique rumble may warn other herd members of the bees’ presence, prompting pachyderm retreats even when no are bees present.

“The purpose behind these studies is to find a novel way of keeping elephants from raiding the crops of local communities, and thereby reducing “human-elephant conflict,” according to Joseph Soltis, Ph.D., research scientist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “As human populations expand, they move into elephant territory and elephants and people end up sharing the same space. One of the consequences is that elephants start raiding crops, which can end up harming both people and elephants.”

Using an array of microphones hidden in the bush, scientists first recorded the vocal reaction of the elephants to bees and then replayed these elephant rumblings without bees present. When elephants heard this recording through wireless speakers, they behaved the same as they did when bees were present; they shook their heads, threw dust in the air, and ran away from the area. These very low-frequency “rumble” vocalizations are apparently different from other rumbles, leading researchers to believe that that elephants may use their voices to communicate threats to each other.

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