Show Disney.com Hide Disney.com
Via Napoli Restaurant, Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Wildlife Wednesday: Celebrating Animal Births at Walt Disney World Resort in 2014!

posted on December 31st, 2014 by Dr. Mark Penning, Director of Animal Operations, Disney Parks


Earlier this year, avid Disney Parks Blog readers joined us as we celebrated the arrival of two Western lowland gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Western Lowland Gorilla Baby #1 and Mom Western Lowland Gorilla Baby #2 with Mom. Look For the Entire Family Group on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Those births were a very exciting time for our Animal Programs team, but we’ve had plenty of excitement throughout the year with hundreds of births and hatchings! (You are probably thinking, “Where are they keeping all of these baby animals?!”, but keep in mind that this large number includes invertebrates that can have 100 offspring at a time!) While we don’t have the space here to feature all of our new babies, the Animal Programs team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge have helped compile a quick list of some of the baby animals we welcomed this year.

WLW704703

Just around the corner from the gorilla families on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you can find a maze of slender-tailed meerkat burrows, and might even catch a glimpse of this baby meerkat or one of its nine siblings! The adults can be seen sitting upright as they keep watch over the newly extended family, and an alarm chirp sends them all scurrying into the safety of the burrows.

Great Blue Turacos Nest in the African Aviary at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Black Cheeked Lovebird Hatchlings Weigh Only 5 grams (About the Weight of a Quarter) at Hatch Look For the Beautiful Black Cheeked Lovebirds on Your Next Visit to the African Aviary on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

A short walk from the meerkats, the African Aviary on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is also home to new babies. These offspring weren’t born, they hatched! The Great blue turaco is the largest of the 23 types of turacos found only in Africa. They are primarily fruit eaters, and although they can fly very well, they prefer to run and scamper about the tree limbs, almost like a squirrel. This beautiful bird and recent hatchling can be seen in the Africa Aviary.

Also in the African Aviary, you can find a colony of Black cheeked lovebirds – a vulnerable African species of parrot. Only two zoos in the United States care for this species. The hatchlings weigh in at only ~5 grams (about the weight of a quarter) and reach only 4 inches in length when they are fully grown.

A wallaby joey is one of the many interesting species you don’t want to miss at the Oasis Exhibits as you begin your adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He is most active during the cooler parts of the day, mornings and after late day rains. If you didn’t see his birth announcement on the Disney Parks Blog, you can check it out here.

WLW704707

Kilimanjaro Safaris, an open-air vehicle tour of a lush African savannah, is now home to this cute springbok calf, along with three other calves and their families. The springbok is able to run alongside its mother within an hour after birth, but of course it tires quickly, and will then flatten itself into the long grass and hide from predators.

WLW704708

In 2014, the team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was delighted to welcome three Thomson’s gazelles, which are very similar in appearance to the springbok. The newest addition, pictured here, is a girl who was born in October. Although she’s resting in this photo, she often leaps and tears around the savannah. Thomson’s gazelles are some of the fastest antelope in Africa, and combine their incredible speed with agile jumps and maneuvers. They are often able to outrun cheetahs and other predators.

WLW704709

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is also home to a Red river hog sow and her three piglets, born in May. This is her second litter and the entire family, including dad and aunt, can be found on the Pembe savannah.
(Did you know a female hog is called a “sow”? You did? “Sow” did I!)

WLW704710

All of our births and hatchings are celebrated because many animals, including the Western lowland gorilla and Black cheeked lovebirds, need our help for their species to survive. Several species are a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Look for other baby animals and their families throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. We look forward to the New Year as we continue to protect wildlife and wild places around the world.

Happy New Year from all of our families to yours!!

  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

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

Wildlife Wednesdays: Colorful Macaws Take Flight in New Experience Coming This Summer to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on May 7th, 2014 by Dr. Mark Penning, Director of Animal Operations, Disney Parks


I am thrilled to share first with Disney Parks Blog fans news about a new animal experience coming soon to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Stars of the show are flocks of macaws in a kaleidoscope of colors flying over and around the heart of the park — Discovery Island. Brought to you by the fantastic team that inspires and delights guests at our Flights of Wonder show in collaboration with Disney Creative Entertainment, “Winged Encounters — The Kingdom Takes Flight,” will debut this summer.

WLW84957946

The macaws, with wingspans up to 60 inches, are now making short flights in the early morning hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in preparation for the debut of the new experience, which features six types of macaw: hyacinth, green-winged, blue and gold, scarlet, blue-throated and military.

In addition to seeing these colorful birds in flight, during up-close encounters, avian experts will share conservation stories about the macaws, the majority of which are endangered in their native Central and South America.

Be sure to watch Disney Parks Blog for more information about this new experience in the coming weeks.

  • Share: 

Tagged: ,

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

Wildlife Wednesdays: Animal Care Team Creates Hog Heaven at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on September 26th, 2012 by Dr. Mark Penning, Director of Animal Operations, Disney Parks


For my first Disney Parks Blog post, I am very pleased to share with you an example of how our animal care team is always striving to enhance both the guest and the animal experience at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Animal Care Team Creates Hog Heaven at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge animal care team noticed that the red river hogs were using some natural mud wallows to stay cool in areas where the guests could not see them. They recognized that this is a natural behavior the guests would love to see, and went about filling in those natural wallows while creating a “deluxe version” where guests could get a good view. Then the animal care team figured out how to encourage the hogs to go to the new wallow, and reinforced that behavior. It wasn’t long before being in the new wallow became a highly desirable activity for the hogs. Now we have very happy hogs, happy animal keepers, happy savanna guides interpreting the behavior—and a wonderful natural behavior for guests to enjoy.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Animal Care Team Creates Hog Heaven at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Did you know?

  • The savannas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge present an exceptional opportunity for guests to see African wildlife in a large, mixed-species habitat right outside the guests’ hotel rooms throughout the day and into the evening.
  • Although the selection of animals on the savanna often changes, in addition to the red river hogs, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may see giraffe, Ankole cattle, zebra, okapi, several species of antelope, Abyssinian ground hornbills and ostriches, among many others.
  • The red river hog is a wild member of the pig family that lives in western and central Africa. In the wild, red river hogs eat grasses, berries, roots, insects, small animals and carrion.
  • Share: 

Tagged: , ,

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