More Disney Planet Possible Stories

From Polar Bears to Pachyderms, Disney Helps Protect the Planet on Land

Claire Martin

by , Senior Manager, Strategic Philanthropy, Disney Corporate Social Responsibility

If you’ve ever witnessed the majesty of the Grand Canyon, stargazed on a clear, crisp night, or marveled at the shimmering sea, you’ll agree that it’s impossible not to be impressed by the beauty and grandeur of our natural world. We are now three weeks into Earth Month and have been inspired by all the stories of success, collaboration and hope for the future of our planet. In honor of our beautiful world, this week we are sharing stories of how we at Disney are working with organizations and communities around the world to restore nature and create a world in balance- across the land, in the sky and under the sea.

Join us as we share how Disney is helping protect and preserve the habitats, plants and animals around the world – all part of Disney Planet Possible. 

The natural habitats we call home can differ greatly – yet each are important to the people and wildlife who live there. We are working to study and protect many of the diverse plants and animals that can be found across our Disney parks and resorts. 

At Walt Disney World Resort our teams monitor wildlife species diversity in our 8,000+ acre Wildlife Management Conservation Area (WMCA). We have also supported The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve, which includes 11,500 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats that are home for more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, including threatened and endangered species like the gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, and even the Florida panther. Both the Disney Wilderness Preserve and the WMCA serve as critical linkages in the Florida Wildlife Corridor, connecting green spaces across the state.

Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and Associação Mico Leão Dourado supported construction of Brazil’s first forested wildlife bridge over a federal highway, providing safer pathways for animals like endangered golden lion tamarins to travel across the landscape.
(Credit: Luiz Thiago de Jesus, Andréia Martins) 

Beyond the berm, Disney collaborates with organizations around the world to support communities in their efforts to help protect wildlife where they live. With funding from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) and guidance from our Disney Imagineers, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado worked with partners and stakeholders to create the first wildlife overpass over a federal highway in Brazil that connects forest habitat for endangered golden lion tamarin monkeys and other wildlife.  

The newest calf at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary is the daughter of mother, Rosa, and father Andatu, the first calf ever born at the sanctuary.
(Credit: Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry) 

On the other side of the globe, DCF is proud to support rhino conservation efforts in both Kenya and Indonesia and has directed nearly $3.5 million to protecting rhinos in the wild. Recently, we were thrilled to hear work we have supported through the International Rhino Foundation has led to the birth of a Sumatran rhino calf at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park, Indonesia. This milestone represents incredible efforts by the Indonesian government, International Rhino Foundation and partners to recover this critically endangered rhino species through years of planning, global partnership and training of dedicated teams.

@disneyparks Get ready with me Rhino Keeper edition 🦏 #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyPlanetPossible #DisneyCastLife #EarthMonth #EarthDay #Sustainability #Rhino #AnimalTok #GetReadyWithMe ♬ original sound – Disney Parks

With Disney support, Save the Elephants’ Elephants and Bees Project supports programs to reduce human-elephant conflicts and support local communities – helping both elephants and people thrive. (Credit: Save the Elephants) 

To help create a world in balance, Disney collaborates with organizations, people and communities globally to find win-win solutions that benefit both people and wildlife. Together with scientists (and our resident elephants!) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and support from the DCF, the Save the Elephants team discovered that elephants, the world’s largest land animal, are afraid of bees! The team now helps farmers in both Africa and Asia construct beehive fences that scare elephants away from crops, helping them protect their livelihoods and protecting elephants from conflict with people. As a bonus, the bees produce honey that the farmers can harvest for added income, and bees also increase the productivity of the crops through pollination – another benefit our Disney Team Wildlife scientists are helping to investigate! 

(Credit: Andrew Bernard) 

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DCF and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s animal care and education experts supported the establishment and growth of the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE), the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned Grauer’s gorillas. The loss of intact forested habitat threatens gorilla survival in the wild, but local communities also rely on natural resources like timber to meet their basic needs. To combat this challenge, GRACE has helped provide fuel-efficient stoves to more than 60 homes, planted more than 27,000 trees to provide household wood to these communities, and supported conservation education through radio programming reaching more than 15,000 local listeners. 

When we work together to find creative solutions that benefit all life that calls our planet home, the possibilities are endless.  

This year in honor of the all-new Disneynature film, “Polar Bear,” Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund are continuing a longstanding commitment to care for wildlife and their habitats by supporting Polar Bears International (PBI) to help protect polar bear mothers, cubs, and their Arctic home. Among a host of activities, PBI is deploying a new aerial radar detection tool to allow aircraft to identify polar bear dens to help protect these sites for polar bear moms and cubs during this crucial period, giving each new cub the best possible start in life. “Polar Bear” will join the Disney+ family on Earth Day and tells the story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood.

What gives you hope for the future? Follow @DisneyConservation this month for more inspiring stories and share your own with the hashtag #DisneyPlanetPossible to inspire others around the world to join in protecting the magic of nature together. 

Later this week, join us here to learn more about how we are helping wildlife thrive in the sky and under the sea!