'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Conservation Heroes Dedicated to Nature and Their Communities

posted on August 14th, 2013 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


They live in many different parts of the world. They vary in age, language, and level of education. Sadly, one of them even lost his life doing the work he loved. They are heroes in different ways, but what they all have in common is their passion for protecting nature, and sharing their love of wildlife with others. That’s why we are recognizing these inspiring people as Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) Conservation Heroes.

Here are just a few of their stories:
“Disney

  • Nomusa Zikhali (nominated by the Africa Foundation) started what is now a model school with a gathering of children, many of them orphans, under a tree in rural South Africa. The Nkomo Full-Service School has grown to include 17 classrooms, including facilities for disabled children. Principal Zikhali has maintained a focus on connecting her students with nature at a nearby wildlife reserve and by integrating conservation education into the school’s curriculum.

“Disney

  • Felix Medina (nominated by the Wildlife Conservation Network), a farmer and hunter, has worked for 25 years for Proyecto Titi, a conservation organization in Colombia, South America, whose mission is to save the cotton-top tamarin. Mr. Medina was instrumental in conducting a census of the total population of cotton-tops, resulting in these small monkeys being declared one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

“Disney

  • Silver James Birungi (nominated by the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance) is a wildlife conservation educator for a chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda. He educates kids in an area where it has been cuturally accepted to keep, sell and kill chimpanzees. Mr. Birungi has traveled across Uganda to raise awareness and help change minds, attitudes, behaviors and actions, reaching more than 11,673 students in nearly 200 schools, as well as 8,000 community members.

“Disney

  • Peter Lalampaa (nominated by the Saint Louis Zoo Association), now a senior manager for the Grevy’s Zebra Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, has grown the trust’s scout, ambassador and warrior programs. His work is enabling Grevy’s zebra to be monitored and protected over a wide area of Kenya, including remote areas where no wildlife conservation programs had existed.

“Disney

  • Jairo Mora Sandoval (nominated posthumously by the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) monitored Moin Beach in Costa Rica, where he was responsible for protecting sea turtle nests and thousands of baby sea turtles. This 26-year-old conservationist had a passion for the wild creatures of his country and a dedication to their survival that was unshakable. This past spring, while patroling Moin Beach, Mr. Sandoval lost his life while protecting sea turtle nests. His award will be presented to his family.

Since 2004, Disney has honored 85 people around the world for their extraordinary conservation efforts. To read more about all 14 of the 2013 Disney Conservation Heroes, visit www.disney.com/conservation.

Did you know?

DWCF is funded by Disney and contributions by Disney guests. Guests help to support the fund in a variety of ways from adding a dollar or more to their purchases of food and gifts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and select resorts, to participating in special animal experiences on Disney Cruise Line and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, to purchasing reusable shopping bags and other items and at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

Do you have a personal conservation hero—someone who has inspired you? If so, please tell us about your hero in the comments.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Mom of 22 Among Cotton-Top Tamarins Celebrated This Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on August 7th, 2013 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


I first “met” Tamara, a cotton-top tamarin who lives in the forest in Colombia, South America, when she was still in her mom’s belly. Thirteen years later (a ripe old age for a cotton-top), she continues to amaze me. Cotton-tops usually give birth to twins, and she recently gave birth to her 12th litter and 22nd infant!

Tamara, Mom of 22 Among Cotton-Top Tamarins Celebrated This Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Over the years, Tamara has been a fantastic mom and family member. Thanks to her resourcefulness, Tamara’s family has continued to thrive in their forest home. And she has helped us to learn so much about cotton-top tamarins. For example, we had no idea how many infants a female in the wild could produce. Thanks to Tamara, we’ve had the opportunity at the conservation organization dedicated to cotton-tops, Proyecto Titi, to study all of her infants and learn so much about these fascinating animals. Luckily for Tamara, cotton-top moms don’t raise their babies all by themselves. The babies’ dad, brothers and sisters all help to take care of the babies.

Tamara, Mom of 22 Among Cotton-Top Tamarins Celebrated This Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re celebrating Tamara and rest of the cotton-tops, critically endangered monkeys found only in Colombia, where August 15 has been proclaimed a national holiday — the Day of the Cotton-Top Tamarin. If you visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you can find out about cotton-top tamarins’ favorite foods, how scientists locate them in the forest, and even how to do the cotton-top tamarin dance. Other highlights include face painters and caricature artists with designs featuring cotton-top tamarins created just for the celebration. And, take my word for it, the cotton-top tamarin cupcakes are too delicious to pass up.

Every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can see cotton-top and other tamarins in Habitat Habit!, on the trail to Conservation Station in Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Guests also can see cotton-tops in Discovery Island near the Tree of Life.

Credit: Hoffner; Proyecto Titi has Taught Women to Crochet Using Plastic Bags Which Help Communities in Columbia Protect Forests that the Cotton-Top Tamarins Call Home Credit: Hoffner; Proyecto Titi has Taught Women to Crochet Using Plastic Bags Which Help Communities in Columbia Protect Forests that the Cotton-Top Tamarins Call Home Credit: Hoffner; Proyecto Titi has Taught Women to Crochet Using Plastic Bags Which Help Communities in Columbia Protect Forests that the Cotton-Top Tamarins Call Home

Did you know?

  • Cotton-top tamarins and plastic bags actually have something in common. Proyecto Titi has taught women to crochet using plastic bags like the ones we bring home from the grocery store (what a great way to recycle and keep trash out of the forest!). They make these beautiful, colorful tote bags called eco-mochilas, which are sold at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Purchasing an eco-mochila helps communities in Colombia protect forests that the cotton-top tamarins call home.
  • You can find out even more about cotton-top tamarins at www.proyectotiti.com and how the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is helping cotton-tops, other tamarins and wildlife around the world at www.disney.com/conservation.
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Sea Turtles, Facing Monstrous Challenges, Return to the Sea at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

posted on July 31st, 2013 by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


Last Saturday morning, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort guests connected with nature in a way that few people get to experience when they cheered on two giant, loggerhead sea turtles named for Disney characters – who had laid their eggs on the beach the night before – as they returned to the sea. The turtles were fitted with satellite transmitters and released near the resort as part of the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s annual “Tour de Turtles,” which follows the marathon migration of 11 sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their foraging grounds.

Sea Turtles, Facing Monstrous Challenges, Return to the Sea Cheered On by Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Guests

The sea turtles, Carrie (sponsored by Disney’s Animal Programs and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort) and Claire (sponsored by the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund), were named for two of the characters in the Disney•Pixar film “Monsters University.” Sea turtles face monstrous challenges throughout their lifetime, but all of us can help.

Guests at Disney's Vero Beach Resort Learn About the Monstrous Challenges that Sea Turtles Face

Each turtle in Tour de Turtles acts as an ambassador to raise awareness about a specific threat to sea turtles. Carrie is raising awareness about the threat of light pollution on the beach. Since sea turtle hatchlings rely on moonlight to find their way to the ocean, many become disoriented and drawn off-course by artificial light sources. We can help by turning off unnecessary lights that may be visible on nesting beaches. Claire is raising awareness about the threat of plastic debris. Many turtles have been killed by swallowing or becoming entangled in plastic debris, including plastic bags and fishing lines. We can help by recycling and putting trash in appropriate containers.

Sea Turtles, Facing Monstrous Challenges, Return to the Sea Cheered On by Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Guests and Cast Members, Including the Local Boys & Girls Club

Watch the video to see the huge send-off by more than 600 guests and cast members, including children from the local Boys & Girls Club, our Walt Disney World Ambassadors and Disney VoluntEARS.

Did you know?

  • Researchers from Disney’s Animal Programs and the Sea Turtle Conservancy will track the sea turtles using satellite telemetry as they travel from their nesting beach to various feeding grounds. Using this technology, scientists learn about sea turtles’ habits at sea and the different migratory patterns of each species. This knowledge helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation actions and policies. People worldwide can view the sea turtles’ progress online at www.tourdeturtles.org. Lightning McQueen, a sea turtle sponsored by Disney from the 2011 Tour de Turtles, returned again this year to the beach near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort to nest, and her eggs hatched just a few weeks ago with the baby turtles heading out to sea.
  • Of the nearly than $20 million that the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) has distributed since the fund’s inception, more than $1 million has helped support sea turtle conservation around the world. Guests visiting Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot can adopt the nest of one of the sea turtles that lays her eggs at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, including Carrie’s and Claire’s. The adoption fee is directed through the DWCF to sea turtle conservation efforts in Florida.
  • The team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate and conserve turtles and tortoises every day. Over the years, for example, the Disney’s Animal Programs team has nursed more than 300 endangered sea turtles back to health and released them back to their home in the sea.
  • At Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, the Disney’s Animal Programs team monitors sea turtle nesting activity on several miles of beach near the resort, and examines what factors contribute to successful hatching of the sea turtle nests. Resort guests can get involved too. For example, kids can join Turtle Troop, a fun and educational experience that combines crafts and a walk on the beach to see a sea turtle nest up close.
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Vote To Name the First Masai Giraffe Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on July 24th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Vote To Name the First Masai Giraffe Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Our very first Masai giraffe calf, a male, was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently and will go out on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna within the next few weeks. We are excited to have you pick the baby’s name from a list prepared by our animal care team. It’s easy to cast your vote. Check the list below, make your choice and keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog to find out what name gets the most votes—I’ll post the results next Wednesday (July 31).

Did you know?

  • There are two subspecies of giraffe—Masai and reticulated—roaming the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna. Most are now Masai giraffe, with reticulated giraffe making their home on the savannas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Having two kinds of giraffe enables cast members to share even more great stories about these amazing animals.
  • The Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) can be found in southern Kenya and throughout Tanzania. Reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are widely found in northern Kenya and in Somalia.
  • The Masai giraffe’s coat features jagged-edged patches. The patches are dark brown on a cream background, making the Masai the darkest-colored subspecies. The reticulated giraffe’s coat features a pattern of very defined patches that usually are orangish brown. The patches are separated by bright white lines, and the lower part of the legs are a lighter color.
  • It is estimated that there are fewer than 40,000 Masai giraffe in the wild. The reticulated giraffe is more threatened in the wild, with numbers fewer than 5,000. Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, poaching, and human-wildlife conflicts.
  • The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) helps to support conservation programs for wildlife like giraffes. For example, through a recent project, the DWCF helped Tusk Trust USA and the Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy reintroduce Rothschild’s giraffes in Kenya. This program also enhances community awareness of wildlife conservation through anti-poaching, wildlife monitoring, and educational programs in local schools. Since its inception in 1995, the DWCF has provided more than $4.5 million to support habitat conservation for giraffes and other African wildlife. Through a collaboration with Disneynature and the “See ‘African Cats,’ Save the Savanna” campaign, the DWCF also helped the African Wildlife Foundation to protect more than 65,000 acres of land in Kenya’s Amboseli Wildlife Corridor to enable indigenous animals including giraffes, cheetahs, and lions to roam freely between protected habitats.

What name did you vote for? Tell us about your favorite in the “Comments” section below or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #DisneyGiraffe.

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Bounce Like Tigger Over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for Special Tiger Day

posted on July 17th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Look closely at this tiger photo taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and you’ll discover some of the special characteristics of this magnificent animal — the largest of all cats.

Tiger at Disney's Animal Kingdom - this Magnificent Animal is the Largest of all Cats

For one thing, you may notice that the tiger’s ears can turn independently of each other, allowing them to pick up sounds from different directions. The ears also have distinctive white circular spots—think eyes in back of their heads to scare off potential predators, according to one theory.

Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 25 will discover even more about tigers and learn about efforts to conserve them as the park celebrates Tiger Day with special activities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Families can test their skills at identifying tiger calls, find out where in the world tigers live and how they travel through the forest, and see if they can leap as far as a tiger, among other activities.

Tiger at Disney's Animal Kingdom - this Magnificent Animal is the Largest of all Cats

Of course, every day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests love seeing our tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where the tigers can enjoy a dip in the water, nap on the grass, and play with a variety of tiger toys. Unlike some other cats, tigers seem to enjoy water and can swim well. They use rivers and lakes to seek relief from the heat and to catch fish.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is helping to conserve tigers. So far, the fund has contributed $1.4 million to projects working to protect tigers and other big cats like lions and leopards. Last year, for example the DWCF provided funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society to help the government of Thailand train and equip park rangers to reduce the threat of poaching and wildlife trade for tigers and other forest wildlife in that country.

More tiger fun facts:

  • Did you know that a tiger’s stripes help it hunt? The stripes break up their outline, helping tigers to remain undetected as they close in on their prey in their forest homes. And not only is a tiger’s fur striped, but its skin underneath is too.
  • During the day tigers can see about as well as humans, but their night vision is six times more powerful.
  • Tigers use their whiskers as “feelers,” helping these large cats to navigate their way through dark and heavily wooded areas.
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Magic of Flight Helps Injured Bald Eagles, Our National Emblem, Return to the Sky

posted on July 3rd, 2013 by Kim Sams, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Conservation Programs, The Walt Disney Company


Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney Magic Helps Injured Bald Eagles, Our National Emblem, Return to the Sky

Just in time for Independence Day, the public can get a behind-the-scenes look at the rehabilitation of injured bald eagles through the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey website. Called “Eagle Eyes on the Environment,” the sneak peek, supported in part by Disney to help inspire kids and families to connect with nature, included the installation of two video monitoring cameras in the Disney Magic of Flight 100-foot-long flight barn. Click here and see if you can spot an eagle testing its wings. Disney sponsored the building of the flight barn in 2001 and has been an ongoing supporter of the center, including regular visits by Disney VoluntEARS.

The eagles are recovering from a variety of ailments, according to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey staff. The most common injuries they treat are vehicle collisions, electrocution due to collisions with overhead power lines, young eagles falling from their nests, and territory fights. The center cares for more than 50 injured bald eagles each year.

The flight barn, which houses high perches, a pond and food platforms enables the birds undergoing rehabilitation to regain muscle strength and rebuild stamina before being released back into the wild. Over the years, it has helped thousands of birds literally try out their wings in preparation for returning to their natural habitats. Getting flight time enables eagles to return to the wild sooner, giving the center more room to treat even more injured birds.

The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey located in Maitland, Fla., has been supported through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) since the fund’s inception in 1995. For example, the fund provided support to the Audubon EagleWatch program for 8 years through its annual grants program. With more than 1,400 nesting pairs, Florida has one of the largest populations of bald eagles in the United States, excluding Alaska. Audubon EagleWatch helps in the conservation of bald eagles, recording information about the eagles, active nest locations, and potential disturbances or threats to nesting activities, and educating the public and key stakeholders about threats to bald eagles with the goal of engaging them in eagle conservation.

Did you know?

  • Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom can see a bald eagle and a variety of other magnificent birds at the Flights of Wonder show.
  • The bald eagle is one of the mascots of the new Wilderness Explorers experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The next time you visit, pick up a handbook (you’ll see a bald eagle and a bear on the cover) at the Wilderness Explorers headquarters on the bridge connecting the Oasis and Discovery Island. It’s fun for the whole family!
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Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, First Resort in Hawai‘i to Obtain LEED Silver Certification

posted on June 28th, 2013 by Elliot Mills, Vice President and General Manager, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa


At Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, we have a strong focus on our island culture, which includes a responsibility to preserve and respect our `aina (land). That’s why we’re so proud that Aulani recently became the first resort in Hawai‘i to obtain LEED Silver certification through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for implementing environmentally friendly construction practices and building systems.

According to the USGBC website, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures. To obtain LEED certification, buildings must pass a rigorous checklist of sustainability points that include water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and awareness and education. LEED certification is also about being stewards of the environment with sensitivity to the impacts on our natural world.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, First Resort in Hawai‘i to Obtain LEED Silver Certification

Some of the environmental initiatives in place that allowed us to receive this honor include the use of waste heat for hot water needs. For instance, many people don’t realize that we harvest the heat emitted from the resort’s large chillers – which are used to keep the buildings cool – and divert it to heat the whirlpool spas and swimming pools. We also provide 34 electric car charging stations for plug-in vehicles within Aulani’s parking structure.

Even the location of our resort was taken into consideration for LEED certification. Building on an already developed master planned resort location meant that no trees needed to be cleared and no undeveloped lands were disturbed for Aulani.

As we look toward the future, and look forward to completing our enhancements in September, we will always keep the environment in mind and look for ways to be even more respectful of the land. It is our kuleana (responsibility and privilege).

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Siamang with Twins is Father of the Year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 12th, 2013 by Matt Hohne, Animal Operations Director, Disney’s Animal Programs


With Father’s Day approaching, our vote at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for father of the year is Kenny, one of our siamangs (a species of ape). Kenny has been raising his twin daughters, Veruca and Violet, since they were a couple of months old and doing a fantastic job under the watchful eyes of our animal care team.
Siamang with Twins Is Father of the Year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
Twins are rare for siamangs. Mom began caring for one of the infants, and our primate team stepped in to help by hand rearing the other one.

Dad Kenny, who had demonstrated great parenting skills in the past, then took on the job of raising first one, then both of his daughters, with our animal keepers continuing to bottle-feed the infants until they moved on to solid foods.

While the twins look very much alike, they have very different personalities. Violet is the more dominant twin and definitely a daddy’s girl. She often wins during wrestling matches with her sister. Veruca is more laid back and does not typically hang out with dad as much.
Kenny and his twin daughters, Veruca and Violet at Disney's Animal Kingdom
The twins will be two years old this fall and are doing great. Guests love watching them with their dad in the Asia area of the park as they wrestle with each other, play in the hammocks and try to wake dad from his naps. But don’t let Kenny’s sleepy demeanor fool you—he’s very aware of his surroundings and where the kids are and what they’re up to. Meanwhile, mom, Penny, and older sister, Bahiyah, are in their backstage habitat. Our primate team hopes to get the family back together in their habitat in Asia when the twins get a little older.

The team shot some video of Kenny and the twins at play in their habitat at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Enjoy!

Siamang fun facts:

  • Siamangs are the largest species in the gibbon family. Like all species of apes, siamangs do not have tails.
  • They usually weigh approximately 20-30 lbs.- males are slightly larger than females. They are about 3 feet in height.
  • They are great trapeze artists and use their long arms for travel in the rainforest canopy. Siamangs, and other gibbons, are the only true brachiators, which means that they locomote through the trees using only their arms. Siamangs have exceptionally long arms and shortened legs to facilitate this method of movement.
  • When not brachiating, siamangs generally walk bipedally (on two legs) and raise their arms above their heads for balance. Their feet have opposable big toes capable of holding and carrying objects.
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Nemo and the Gang Celebrate World Oceans Day at Epcot

posted on June 5th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Join Nemo, Dory, Crush and the rest of the gang in celebrating the wonders of the oceans on World Oceans Day at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot on June 8. There’s a host of special activities:

  • From endangered Florida manatees to bottlenose dolphins, discover the important role marine mammals play in the ocean ecosystem. Find out how the actions you take, such as recycling plastics and used fishing line, can protect these majestic mammals.
  • Baby sea turtles face great obstacles in order to reach adulthood, which is why all species of sea turtles are either endangered or threatened. Experience an interactive model of a turtle excluder device, used on fishing boats to assist in preventing sea turtles from getting caught in nets. Find out how you can do your part to protect sea turtles, and how you can adopt the nest of one of the sea turtles that lays her eggs this year near Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.
  • Coral reefs often are described as the rainforests of the oceans due to the abundance and diversity of life they help to sustain. Just like the rainforests, coral reefs face many challenges. These include overfishing and damage caused by pollution. Talk with Disney scientists, who are helping to restore coral reefs in The Bahamas.
  • Sharks and stingrays play a vital role in marine ecosystems and, without them, many fish species would be in trouble. Find out what a shark’s tooth feels like and learn about the role sharks and stingrays play in the oceans’ food web. Learn about the impact of marine debris and how disposing of trash properly and recycling can keep the oceans clean.
  • Everyone can make a difference by becoming wildlife-friendly shoppers. Participate in a “green shopping spree” and discover how environmentally friendly products help to save the environment, including our oceans, and wildlife.

Wildlife Wednesdays: Nemo and the Gang Celebrate World Oceans Day at Epcot

Surrounded by the Pacific in Hawaii, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, is joining the World Oceans Day celebration with special ocean-themed activities for guests. And, in addition to supporting conservation year-round, the resort is contributing a portion of the proceeds on June 8 from the Rainbow Reef snorkeling experience to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which helps to protect wildlife on land and in the oceans around the world.

On World Oceans Day, and every day, it’s important to remember that no matter where we live we are all connected to the oceans—any action we take that reduces waste (including recycling everything possible), saves water or keeps it clean, protects ocean wildlife or reduces emissions helps our oceans.

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

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom -

  • 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 -

  • September 7: International Manatee Day
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Wildlife Wednesdays: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is All Abuzz on Pollinator Day

posted on May 29th, 2013 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks


Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are the focus during the Pollinator Day celebration June 5 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is All Abuzz on Pollinator Day, June 5 at Walt Disney World Resort

At Rafiki’s Planet Watch on Pollinator Day, guests can view live bees (very safely, of course!) and learn about the important role they play in pollination. Afraid of bees? Elephants are too! Guests can find out how this fear is being put to use to protect both elephants and people. Guests also can try on a pair of insect wings, follow the paths different pollinators take in a fun game, and learn how to create a pollinator garden.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is All Abuzz on Pollinator Day, June 5 at Walt Disney World Resort

Fun facts about pollinators:

  • About 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices and medicines depend on pollinators to grow. In fact, an estimated one-third of all foods and beverages is dependent on pollinators.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as butterflies, bees, beetles and wasps. About 1,000 pollinators are vertebrates, such as birds, bats and small mammals.
  • You can help pollinators by reducing pesticide use and by creating a pollinator-friendly garden with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen and homes.
  • The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) helps pollinators through a variety of projects around the world. Through support from the DWCF, a new species of butterfly was discovered in Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia.

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

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom -

  • 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 -

  • June 8: World Ocean Day
  • September 7: International Manatee Day
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