Disney Cruise Line

Wildlife Wednesdays: Rescued Sea Turtles, Cared for at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, Return to the Sea

posted on March 20th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Earlier this year, we shared on the Disney Parks Blog the story of eight sea turtles, rescued from New England beaches during a cold spell and suffering from hypothermia. Well, I’m thrilled to report that last week, after receiving care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot, four of the turtles were returned to their home in the sea, with the other four expected to follow soon.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Rescued Sea Turtles, Cared for at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Return to the Sea Wildlife Wednesdays: Rescued Sea Turtles, Cared for at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Return to the Sea

 
Disney and other rehabilitation centers came to the aid of the New England Aquarium, whose sea turtle hospital had reached capacity. Our animal care team took in eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, one of the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world. The team focused on increasing the turtles’ body weight so they could regain their strength to swim in the open ocean.

Under direction from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the turtles were released back to the ocean at the Canaveral National Seashore here in Florida. We hope you’ll enjoy the video of the turtles heading back to the sea!

 
In addition to rehabilitating sea turtles, Disney is helping through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts.


Check out below for more posts from our “Wildlife Wednesdays” series:

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Spring Forward to Help Frogs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on February 27th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


At Disney’s Animal Kingdom on March 7, just a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, we’re “springing forward” to celebrate frogs, toads and other amphibians during one of a year-long series of events that encourage families to connect with nature.
Guests Celebrate Frogs, Toads and Other Amphibians at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When guests visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, they will be able to make toad abodes (special homes for frogs and toads) for their backyards, try leaping like a frog, listen to frog calls, examine amphibian adaptations, and meet some cool amphibians and their keepers. Frog fun fact: Frogs provide a free pest-control service – they eat billions of harmful insects annually, including mosquitoes and their larvae.

Guests also can learn about the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad, which we are raising at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and releasing in their native habitat to re-populate the species in an area where these toads once thrived but are now considered extinct.
Guests Celebrate Frogs, Toads and Other Amphibians at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Did you know that, according to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species are threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease? The good news is that every one of us can help amphibians leap ahead of extinction. Here’s how:

  • Invite a bug-zapping amphibian into your backyard by placing an overturned pot (toad abode) as a home
  • Use fewer chemical pesticides on your lawn to keep amphibians healthy
  • Build a pond, plant native shrubs, and leave leaf litter and logs in your yard to create a habitat for frogs
  • Plan a family outing to a local pond to hear different species of frogs sing their love songs to one another
  • Find natural alternatives to household chemicals so these toxins don’t end up in amphibian habitats
  • Take part in a local pond or stream clean-up to ensure that native amphibians will have a clean home
  • Find books on frogs to discover why they sing loudly, hear well and stay up late

Guests Celebrate Frogs, Toads and Other Amphibians at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Upcoming 2013 events for connecting families with nature (as always, dates subject to change):

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • April 22: Party for the Planet for Earth Day
  • May 8: International Migratory Bird Day
  • May 23: World Turtle Day
  • June 5: Pollinator Day
  • July 25: Tiger Day
  • August 1: Primate Day
  • August: Cotton-Top Tamarin Month
  • September 5: International Vulture Awareness Day
  • September 26: Elephant Day
  • October 31: Bat Day
  • November 12: Rhino Day

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:

  • April 22: Earth Day
  • May 18: Endangered Species Day
  • May 23: World Turtle Day
  • June 8: World Ocean Day
  • September 7: International Manatee Day

 
Read on for more updates from Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Sea Turtles Ill from the Cold Recovering at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot

posted on January 2nd, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Sea turtles suffering from hypothermia were rescued from New England beaches and are recovering at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot.
Veterinarians Examine Recovering Sea Turtles at the Animal Hospital at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, one of the most endangered species of sea turtles in the world, arrived via airplane the weekend before Christmas and were picked up by Disney’s Animal Programs team members. The turtles were examined on Christmas Eve by our veterinarians in view of guests at the animal hospital at Disney’s Animal Kingdom before being transported by our animal care experts to a rehabilitation facility backstage at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Medical exams included X-rays and blood tests, as well as complete physical assessments.

Disney and other rehabilitation centers came to the aid of the New England Aquarium, the first stop for these sea turtles. The aquarium was very grateful for the assistance – their sea turtle hospital had reached capacity and more turtles ill from the cold were arriving every day with months of winter to come. In addition to caring for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, Disney’s Animal Programs cast members are providing support by transporting loggerhead sea turtles impacted by the cold temperatures in New England from Florida airports to other rehabilitation centers on the state’s west coast.
Veterinarians Examine Recovering Sea Turtles at the Animal Hospital at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The team reports that the sea turtles at The Seas with Nemo & Friends are eating well and recovering nicely. Our animal care experts are focused on increasing the turtles’ body weight so they have the strength to swim in the open ocean. The goal is to help the turtles get healthy and then release them back to ocean, under direction from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Did you know?

  • Sea turtles are ectotherms (often referred to as “cold-blooded”), which means that their body temperature depends mostly on external sources, such as water temperature. As a result, frigid waters slow their metabolism, which may lead to life-threatening comas.
  • Since 1986, Disney’s Animal Programs teams have nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and returned them to their home in the sea.
  • Since its inception, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has directed more than $1.1 million to sea turtle conservation efforts.
  • Disney’s Animal Programs often is called upon to help distressed animals. Disney animal care experts help to support the rescue and rehabilitation of hundreds of injured and orphaned animals every year.



Look below for more posts from our “Wildlife Wednesdays” series:

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Get a Glimpse of New Rafiki’s Planet Watch Film – Showing Now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on December 26th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Endangered Baby Sea Turtles- Featured on the New Rafiki's Planet Watch Film

Throughout the year, we’re very proud to share on the Disney Parks Blog stories about our conservation efforts and how we’re connecting families with animals and nature. Some of these stories are now featured in a new film that Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can see when they visit Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

The film, which is hosted by Disney’s Animal Programs Conservation Director Dr. Anne Savage, has four segments. The segment shown here focuses on conservation projects to protect coral reefs in The Bahamas (in partnership with Disney Cruise Line) and two endangered species: Puerto Rican crested toads and sea turtles.
The next time you visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, be sure to stop by and view some of the other segments, which feature animals that live on the land and those that make their home in the sea, including gorillas, elephants, manatees, cotton-top tamarins and tigers. Here’s to a new year filled with nature’s magic!

Conservation Efforts to Protect Coral Reefs in The Bahamas, In Partnership with Disney Cruise Line Puerto Rican Crested Toads- Featured on the New Rafiki's Planet Watch Film
  • Share: 

Tagged: , , , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Batty about Bats on Halloween and Every Day

posted on October 24th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Think bats are scary? The scariest thing about bats is not having them around. Do you like bananas, cashews, cotton t-shirts, pickles or peaches? If so, you can thank a bat. From pest control to pollination, bats worldwide are important to people and nature.

Bats at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can get to know bats better during a celebration on Halloween (what better day to celebrate bats?) devoted exclusively to this special-not-spooky species.

At Conservation Station, guests can discover what bats like to eat and where they live. By participating in a variety of games and activities, they can learn cool bat facts and what all of us can do to be sure that bats “hang around.” Guests also can meet our bat keepers and find out how we care for the bats (Malayan Flying Foxes and Rodrigues fruit bats) that make their home on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Guests Can Meet the Bat Keepers at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Did you know?

  • Contrary to popular misconceptions, bats are not blind and do not become entangled in human hair.
  • As the only mammal capable of true flight, the more than 1,200 species of bats range in size from the world’s smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny, to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans.
  • Many bat species consume vast quantities of insects, including the most damaging agricultural pests. For example, a single little brown bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour.
  • Loss of bats increases demand for chemical pesticides. As insect-eating machines, bats save farmers billions of dollars annually.
  • From deserts to rainforests, nectar-feeding bats are critical pollinators for a wide variety of plants of great economic and ecological value.
  • For 20l2, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is supporting a Bat Conservation International project that is protecting an estimated eight million straw-colored fruit bats in Africa during their seasonal migration.
  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Do Elephants Drink Through Their Trunks? This and Other Questions Answered on Elephant Awareness Day, September 26, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on September 19th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


A myth that pops up from time to time is that elephants use their trunks to drink, like we would use a straw. This would be similar to people sticking their noses in a glass of water when they wanted a drink! Elephants, unlike people, do use their trunks to help them drink, but they only suck the water part of the way up and then use their trunks to squirt the water into their mouths.

In Addition to Sucking Up Water to Squirt in Their Mouths and Picking Up Food, Elephants’ Trunks Are Used For Greeting, Caressing, Threatening and Throwing Dust Over Their Body

The elephant’s trunk is a combination of their nose and upper lip and is able to touch, grasp and smell. In addition to sucking up water to squirt in their mouths and picking up food, elephants’ trunks are used for greeting, caressing, threatening and throwing dust over their bodies.

On September 26, Elephant Awareness Day, Guests Can Test Their Skills at Eating Like an Elephant Using a Replica of an Elephant Trunk

Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom on September 26, Elephant Awareness Day, will learn lots of fun facts about elephants—and can even test their skills at eating like an elephant using a replica of an elephant trunk.

On Elephant Awareness Day, Guests Who Stop By Rafiki’s Planet Watch Can Color an Elephant Mask That They Can Take Home

On Elephant Awareness Day, guests who stop by Rafiki’s Planet Watch can:

  • Learn what—and how much!—an elephant eats.
  • Color an elephant mask that they can take home.
  • Learn about the elephants that make their home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including baby elephant Jabali who just celebrated his first birthday, and talk with members of our elephant care team.
  • Find out about our elephant conservation efforts in Africa, supported through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and cast member conservation programs, including how bee sounds are being used to help keep elephants away from crops.

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesdays: Manatees (Our Not-So-Little Mermaids) Celebrated at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot

posted on September 5th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


History tells us that ancient sailors – and maybe even Christopher Columbus – mistook manatees for mermaids. Guests visiting The Seas with Nemo & Friends on September 7 will be able to learn about these not-so-little mermaids during an International Manatee Day celebration.

Guests Can Learn About Manatees at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot During International Manatee Day

Special activities are designed to help guests discover the reality behind the myths and how they can help protect manatees.

Did you know?

  • Manatees belong to a group of aquatic, plant-eating mammals called sirenians.
  • Their teeth are constantly being worn down by the abrasive plants they eat, but manatees grow replacement teeth throughout their lifetime.
  • Manatees can only be found in a few places around the world, including Florida, South America, Africa, and Australia.
  • Actions all of us can take to keep waterways clean, such as recycling used fishing line and plastic bottles, can protect these majestic mammals.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot is a designated rehabilitation site for rescued manatees (and sea turtles too) until they are well enough to be returned to their habitats The Seas participates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other facilities and conservation groups, in the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership.
  • Rescued manatees Lou and Vail make their home at The Seas.

Rescued Manatees Lou and Vail Make Their Home at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot

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
  • Share: 

Tagged: , , ,

Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

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.

Read more of our Wildlife Wednesday posts below:

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

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

Walt’s Legacy of Protecting the Environment is Part of the Story at New Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

posted on August 15th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


“Disney's

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, including the just opened Lion King wing, taps into Disney’s rich legacy of beloved characters and stories. It also taps into another part of the Disney legacy; a commitment to conservation and the environment that began with our company’s founder, Walt Disney, and is a key focus of our present and future.
“Disney's

A few of the environmental enhancements at the new resort include:

“Disney's

  • Reusable plates and utensils in the Landscape of Flavors food court.
  • Recycle bins in key locations in the resort’s public areas (the most for any resort on property) and, of course, recycle bins in every guest room.
  • Environmental information integrated into cast members’ overall training and guidelines.

“Disney's

Walt Disney World Resort maintains the state of Florida’s Green Lodging designation for all of its resort hotels. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn was among the first resorts in Florida to receive the designation when the program launched in 2004. As our newest resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will be undergoing the process required to achieve this designation after the final wing of the resort, themed after “The Little Mermaid,” opens in September. To achieve the Green Lodging designation, resorts must focus on five categories: water conservation, education and awareness, waste reduction, energy conservation and indoor air quality.

To find out more about Disney’s environmental and conservation efforts, visit www.disney.com/environment.

For more information on Disney conservation, check out the Wildlife Wednesdays series:

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

Filed: Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

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

posted on July 25th, 2012 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can find out the answer to this question and many more during special celebrations taking place in August. So you are not kept in suspense, here’s the answer: They’re both primates — a diverse group of animals that includes apes, monkeys and lemurs.

“Disney's

Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Primates, Featuring the Siamang Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Primates, Featuring the White-Cheeked Gibbon Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Primates, Featuring the Emperor Tamarin

On August 1, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate the world’s primates, including those species — like gorillas, white-cheeked gibbons, siamangs, ring-tailed lemurs, and cotton-top and emperor tamarins — that make their home at the park. Guests will be able to participate in a variety of activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and near primate habitats throughout the rest of the park, and learn what primates eat, what tools certain primates use, and what all of us can do to help conserve primates. There will even be face painters and caricature artists with designs featuring primates created just for the celebration. Guests can also find out how Disney is helping save some special primates — orphan gorillas in Africa — at GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center) with help from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund www.disney.com/conservation.

“Disney's

After August 1, for the remainder of the month, the celebration focuses on the cotton-top tamarin. This tiny, critically endangered primate is found only in Colombia and South America, where August 15 has been proclaimed a national holiday — the Day of the Cotton-Top Tamarin. Guests can find out cotton-top tamarins’ favorite foods, how scientists locate them in the forest, and even how to do the cotton-top tamarin dance. Guests also can learn about the conservation efforts of Proyecto Titi, an organization founded by our own Anne Savage, Ph.D., and dedicated to saving the cotton-top tamarin.

Just last month, the United Women Artisans’ Association of Los Limites, who make eco-mochilas (colorful tote bags made from plastic bags, which reduce the amount of plastic litter in the forests and villages) as part of Proyecto Titi, were selected from more than 800 applicants to receive the Equator Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to sustainable development for people, nature and communities, during the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The artisan group was one of 25 honorees selected, and the group also was given one of 10 thematic special recognition awards. Anne Savage said, after attending the award celebration, “After years of working on Proyecto Titi, this really was one of the times where you can see how hard work by local communities really can change the world.”

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

  • September 5: International Vulture Awareness Day
  • September 26: Elephant Awareness Day
  • October 31: Bat Day

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

For more updates from the Wildlife Wednesdays series, see the posts below:

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort