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Wildlife Wednesdays: Why Don’t Vultures Get Stomach Aches? Find Out All About These Often-Misunderstood Birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on August 29th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


“Learn

Vultures eat the carcasses of dead animals, helping prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases such as rabies and anthrax among animals and humans. So why don’t they get a stomach ache? Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (on September 1) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (on September 5) will find out the answer to this and many other questions about these often-misunderstood birds during International Vulture Awareness Day celebrations.

“Learn

Okay, so why don’t they get a stomach ache, or worse? Vultures are equipped with a digestive system that contains special acids that will dissolve many kinds of usually deadly bacteria. These acids also help them to digest the decaying meat and bones that make up their diet.

As strong as vultures’ stomachs are, they face challenges ranging from loss of habitat and food sources, to direct and indirect poisoning of food carcasses, to electrocution on power lines.

“Learn

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

“Learn

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. Awareness and knowledge are the first steps in appreciating vultures, which are helping keep the earth cleaner and disease free. People also can support conservation efforts that are helping vultures. To learn more about Disney’s conservation efforts, visit www.disney.com/conservation.

Upcoming 2012 wildlife conservation events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (as always, dates subject to change):

  • September 26: Elephant Awareness Day
  • October 31: Bat Day

And at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, celebrate International Manatee Day on September 7.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

1 Comment

1

Eric from MA on August 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Saw the giraffes the one time I got a Savannah room at the Lodge, but never noticed the griffon vultures–Thought they were just some of the local hawks or eagles from the woodsy areas who wandered onto property for free.
(If I knew, I could’ve made more jokes to the folks back home, of “Yeah, wouldn’t say it was a bad vacation, but vultures were hanging around the hotel…” ;) )

1 Comment