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.
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.
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. 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.
Read more of our Wildlife Wednesday posts below:
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Ready, Set, Go! Sea Turtles Race to the Ocean at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Including Hatchlings from Cinderella the Sea Turtle’s Nest
- Wildlife Wednesdays: What Do a 400-Pound Gorilla and a One-Pound Cotton-Top Tamarin Have in Common? Find out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Plants Three Million Trees in Endangered Tropical Forest