In “The Jungle Book” (in a rare opportunity to play the good guys), a quartet of vultures reaches out in friendship to Mowgli. You can say that vultures are friends of the environment—and all of us!–too. Natural recyclers, vultures eat the carcasses of dead animals, and, as a result, reduce the spread of diseases that can make people sick.
Guests can learn about vultures and conservation efforts to help these birds:
- At an activity area at the Tree of Life
- By participating in a variety of activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Guests can try on a replica of vulture wings, create an arts-and-crafts vulture or vulture mask, learn about vulture digestion and take part in a vulture meet-and-greet, among other activities. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, activities include viewing vulture feedings, vulture mask coloring and the opportunity to examine vulture biofacts.
Guests can see lappet-faced vultures at the Tree of Life, black vultures at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Ruppell’s griffon vultures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
International Vulture Awareness Day originated in South Africa in 2006 to raise awareness of the plight of vultures in that region. The event has expanded around the world, focusing on issues and conservation programs that are affecting these birds. Challenges facing vultures range from loss of habitat and food sources to poisoning of food carcasses and electrocution on power lines. Most vulture populations have been reduced by more than 50% over the last 15 years and these downward trends continue.
Programs like the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) are helping to support the conservation of vultures and other birds. DWCF has given more than $3.7 million to bird conservation programs, including more than $400,000 to conserve vultures around the world through annual grants and the Rapid Respond Fund.
Wildlife Wednesdays Vulture Fun Facts:
- Vultures mate for life and are social animals.
- Vultures that soar high on warm air currents, called thermals, can glide for hours in search of food.
- The tips of vultures’ wings act as rudders to help them change direction and as brakes to enable them to reduce speed.
- Vultures nest in a variety of ways—nesting places include cliff faces, tall trees, tree stumps, caves—some vultures even build their nests on the ground.
Watch the Disney Parks Blog for information on other upcoming conservation events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
- October 26 – Year of the Bat Celebration
For more on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, see the posts below: