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Saving Gorillas – It’s Part of Our Mission

Did you know that researchers identify gorillas by looking at their noses? In fact, a gorilla’s nose print is similar to a human’s fingerprints: No two are the same!

Hi, I’m Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President of Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives at Disney Parks.

Although I love all kinds of wildlife, I have to say gorillas hold a special place in my heart. Gorilla behavioral research I conducted as a grad student helped me better understand the role that animals like gorillas play in inspiring people to conserve wildlife and wild places.

The Animal Programs team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is helping gorillas in a variety of ways. For instance:

  • We’re providing staff expertise (and funding through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund) for the creation of the first center in eastern Africa designed to rescue and rehabilitate young, orphaned gorillas and, ultimately, reintroduce them back into the wild.
  • The team also developed an innovative training procedure that enables team members to monitor the heart health of our gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom by administering cardiac ultrasound exams on fully alert, non-sedated gorillas in the gorillas’ backstage living area.

Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom can see gorillas on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

Gorilla Quick Facts:

  • Gorillas are the largest of all primates, standing 5-6 feet tall and weighing up to 450 lbs
  • Gorilla habitat in Africa is quickly disappearing because of coltan mining, a mineral used to make batteries for electronics
  • Next time you purchase a new cell phone or laptop, recycle the old one to help save gorillas!

I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives in the near future, but in the meantime, for additional information on Disney conservation efforts, visit


  • This is so wonderful! I think the Key Largo woodrats on your link are super cute, as are the baby turtles making their way out to sea! I love how Disney helps animals, and I agree – this is something I think Walt himself would have thought was great.

    I am also really liking how you learn stuff on this blog!!!

    P.S. Also, the innovation with the gorilla training to do cardiac monitoring without sedation – very progressive.

  • This is truly something Walt would have approved of. Saving gorillas is obviously important and it’s really cool that we can learn about this stuff at DAK. The only thing that would make things better, if there were more gorillas on the Pangani trail.

  • Wow. I never knew about the battery and cell phone impact on gorillas. Thanks for the information. Can’t wait to read more information from this blog!

  • cant get enough

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