Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrating The 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this April 22 marking 50 years of recognizing all the wondrous things our earth has to offer. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries including Disney’s Animal Kingdom which opened it’s doors on April 22, 1998, and gave families a whole new way to appreciate, enjoy and interact with animals. One of the most important components of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the education it brings to thousands of visitors each year including how people can help save the planet one animal at a time through the Disney Conservation Fund which is just one of the many ways that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Disney Conservation Fund is one of the driving forces behind both Walt’s love of animals and the commitment of Disney to giving back and showcases that drive each and every day, especially throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it is through this fund that we see the depth of the commitment that Disney has made its priority to not just save wildlife but inspire action in others as they protect the planet and those that inhabit it one day and one animal at a time.
It seems like it was just yesterday that Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened its doors to guests thus introducing to the world a place where the magic of nature with rare animals and world-class entertainment came together but throughout the years, Disney’s Animal Kingdom continues to interweave storytelling and innovative and new shows and attractions and more wild adventures than ever before and have reconfirmed their commitment to the Disney Conservation Fund and preserving wildlife and protecting the planet for future generations by inspiring action. Now with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day less than a month away, here’s a closer look at how the Disney Conservation Fund is continuing to help to save the planet one animal at a time.
Did you know that more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park?
Disney is committed to conservation and caring for the planet– ensuring a world where wildlife thrives and nature is treasured and protected.
For almost 65 years, since Walt Disney first brought to life his dream of bringing to life a place that combined the best in storytelling, educational elements as well as amusement value that families could enjoy together, animals have been a part of Disney storytelling, and these stories continue today alongside immersive experiences that connect kids and families around the world with the magic of nature.
Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has inspired millions of people to take action to protect the planet and directed more than $70 million to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world through efforts that engage communities in conservation.
A Closer Look At The Disney Conservation Fund
- The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) was inspired by Walt Disney’s conservation legacy and established on Earth Day 1995 to help protect wildlife and wild places around the world.
- DCF has supported projects spanning across six continents, all five oceans and more than half the countries (115) in the world.
- The DCF has awarded more than $70 million in grants* supporting efforts to save wildlife, inspire action and protect the planet.
- The DCF has helped protect more than 400 species around the world, including elephants, cranes, butterflies and coral reefs through its conservation grants.
- The DCF is supporting “Reverse the Decline” collaborations with international and local conservation partners to stabilize and increase the populations of 10 focus animal categories; apes, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks & rays, and tigers.
- In addition to DCF support, Disney Cast Members and employees are lending their expertise to these efforts. More than 180 Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Cast Members have already participated directly in projects to save wildlife around the world.
- Some highlights of this work in the past three years:
- 103,000+ square miles of critical forest habitat achieving protection to support endangered apes in the Democratic Republic of Congo through a Great Apes Conservation Action Plan (the Jane Goodall Institute)
- 2,000+ Atala butterflies and 1,000+ endangered Shaus’ swallowtail butterflies raised and released in the wild (University of Florida)
- 2,300 coral pieces grown, 12 coral nursery sites established, and 3,000+ coral fragments planted to repopulate reefs in The Bahamas (Perry Institute for Marine Science)
- 7 Siberian cranes outfitted with satellite transmitters during their migration to identify the most important wetland areas for conservation and protection (International Crane Foundation)
- 1 million+ acres of forest habitat surveyed to protect important areas for African elephants (Wildlife Conservation Society)
- 20 tons of plastic waste removed from the environment, 175+ families supported through income-generating programs, 164,000+ trees planted, and more than 37,000 acres of forest protected in Colombia and Brazil to protect cotton-top tamarin and golden lion tamarin monkeys (Associação Mico-Leão Dourado, Proyecto Tití, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and Wildlife Conservation Network)
- 20 Rhino Protection Units (anti-poaching teams) in Indonesia trained in advanced monitoring practices to better protect two national parks and the Sumatran rhinos who live there (International Rhino Foundation)
- 238,000 pounds of marine debris removed from sea turtle habitats and 1.2 kilometers of sea turtle nesting habitat restored and cleared of debris (University of Florida)
- 156 species of sharks and rays studied to help identify where management or protection efforts are needed the most around the world (Wildlife Conservation Society and partners)
- 4,131 miles of forest patrolled by community rangers to protect tigers in Sumatra, Indonesia (Wildlife Conservation Society)
- Since 1995, the DCF has supported more than 2,000 conservation projects, helping more than 600 nonprofit organizations working hand-in-hand with communities to protect wildlife worldwide.
- The DCF has recognized 150 Disney Conservation Heroes for their efforts to protect wildlife living alongside their communities in 47 countries.
- Disney has helped 53 M+ kids connect with nature through Disney experiences like those found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and through programs, tools, and resources supported by the Disney Conservation Fund.
- Disney support has helped conservation programs engage more than 5M people through community outreach efforts.
Protecting the Planet
- In collaboration with Fauna & Flora International’s community-based forest management program in Indonesia, Disney support helped strengthen the livelihoods of 52 communities while aiding in the protection of more than 200,000 acres of critical habitat to support endangered species including Sumatran tigers.
- Disney supported Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s implementation of eight water restoration projects across California and Arizona to improve water use efficiency on agricultural land, reduce the amount of water diverted from rivers and creeks, and improve water quality, recreation and wildlife habitats.
- In celebration of Disneynature films, The Walt Disney Studios and the Disney Conservation Fund have collaborated to support animals and habitats around the world, resulting in:
- 3 Million trees planted in Brazil’s most endangered forest.
- 40,000 Acres of a new marine protected area established to conserve coral reefs in The Bahamas.
- 65,000 Acres of savanna protected to create conservation corridors in Kenya.
- 130,000 Acres of wild chimpanzee habitat protected in the Congo, and 60,000+ local youths educated, and chimpanzees cared for.
- 495,000 Acres of forest protected to restore key corridors for wild pandas and establish a new snow leopard conservation program in China.
- Conservation projects across 400,000 acres of US national parks supported, park visitors educated, and animal and plant species protected.
- Conservation projects supported across one million acres in Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka, benefiting hundreds of species and protecting fresh drinking water for local populations.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom and DCF from the Beginning
“When we, Imagineers, started the development of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we knew that we were entering a new territory of storytelling. These stories were not fantasies, but real. They were not classic tales, but ongoing epics whose conclusions are still unknown.
They were not ours alone but shared with people all around the world, who lived with and cared about the lives of wild creatures. We could not tell such stories unless we ourselves participated in the reality we were describing, contributed to the epic struggle, and shared our skill and our commitment with people around the world. Thus, we concluded that an entity like the Disney Conservation Fund was essential to our story. Without it, our own words and actions would be empty.
The story of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Disney Conservation Fund is not just a story that we tell. It’s a story we are living every day, every one of us. All of us on Earth share this planet with every living creature and with the systems that sustain them. For two decades now, through the actions of the Disney Conservation Fund, we’ve worked towards our dream: a dream of a future for our children in which there is still magic in the forest, the magic that comes from the countless miraculous creatures, some yet undiscovered, that share with us a tiny delicate place amidst a sea of distant stars.” — Joe Rohde, Creative Executive, Disney Imagineering[KGVID]https://www.disneygals.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Joe-Rohde-Interview.mov[/KGVID]
Over the past several weeks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was thrilled to announce two brand new additions to the cast of animals to their fold with the addition of a brand new baby zebra and new baby porcupine reminding us all that even during the most difficult of times, life still goes on. Although Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, Disney’s Animal Care team is continuing to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Thanks to the magic of Disney, you can find out more about the Disney Conservation Fund, take part in up-close and personal look at the different species that Disney is working to protect, as well as what’s going on behind the scenes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as we count down to the 50th Earth Day Celebration by visiting DisneyAnimals.com and following Dr. Mark Penning on Instagram: @DrMarkAtDisney and be sure to keep checking back right here as we keep you updated on all of the latest from the Disney Parks.
Giving back is easy to do and such an important yet easy thing to teach to the generations to come. How do you teach your children to give back and save the planet one animal at a time and how will you join in the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22?