It’s been a busy year at Walt Disney World Resort, as The Most Magical Place on Earth has welcomed the birth of more than 300 animal residents. This range of births is tremendously diverse, from aquatic animals like cuttlefish and an eagle ray pup at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at EPCOT, to terrestrial mammals, including an aardvark and red river hog piglet, to more than 150 birds. These additions are important because they help keep animal populations healthy and ensure their survival.
And it’s been a particularly exciting time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park as we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the park in April and the many ways it has continued to expand the magic of nature with new attractions, entertainment and lands – and, of course, baby animals.
From welcoming the birth of endangered animals through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan to helping with their successful on-stage debuts, our incredibly talented cast members and animal care experts on Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team continue to bring people and nature together through memorable experiences every day.
We don’t want you to miss any of these adorable moments, so here are just a few of the highlights from this summer. And the best part is you can see all of them during your next visit to Walt Disney World Resort!
Zebra Foals Join Kilimanjaro Safaris
The team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed not one but two Hartmann’s mountain zebra foals to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Born just six days apart, Cricket and Dot can be seen prancing around the savanna with their parents. Each foal has unique stripe patterns, if you look close enough. But an even easier way to tell them apart is Cricket loves the water and often can be seen splashing in puddles, while Dot loves to get her “zoomies” out by quickly galloping around the savanna.
Cotton-top Tamarin Twins on Discovery Island
An adorable set of cotton-top tamarin twins were born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in June, and they have been a favorite of park guests since they were 24 hours old. These tiny twins are now just bigger than the palm of a hand and are starting to explore their Discovery Island habitat without the help of mom and dad. This playful pair love chasing each other in the trees and are amazingly acrobatic.
Yellow-backed Duiker Makes Her Savanna Debut
As moms around the country spent the summer preparing to send their children to school, some for the first time, a yellow-backed duiker mom named Pearl also was preparing her daughter for a big milestone. After spending a few months bonding with mom backstage, yellow-backed duiker baby Penny, born in the spring, just made her on-stage debut! Yellow-backed duikers are an extremely shy and reclusive species, so look really hard for Penny and Pearl next time you visit Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, presented by Off! Repellants.
BONUS: Cinderella Pony at Tri-Circle-D Ranch
Though it’s not Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there’s no way I cannot mention Pixie the Shetland pony foal born in July at Tri-Circle-D Ranch! While she is actually the third Shetland pony born at the ranch this year, joining Sprout and Finn, Pixie is the first Cinderella pony and already has taken her first steps in training to one day join the Cinderella carriage team with her mom Lady and sister Lilly.
From caring for the more than 5,000 animals at Walt Disney World Resort to saving sea turtles and the future of Florida’s coral reefs, see all of the amazing work our talented team of cast members is doing by following Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment on Facebook and Dr. Mark on Instagram.