For more than 60 years, beloved fictional animals have been central to Disney storytelling and families’ experiences in Disney parks and ships.
And for the last 25 of those years, the Disney Conservation Fund, inspired by the conservation of Walt Disney himself, has played a role in saving real wildlife around the world.
Founded on Earth Day (April 22nd) 1995, the conservation fund has inspired millions of people to take action to protect the planet, directed millions to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world, engaged communities in conservation, and connected kids and families around the world with the magic of nature.
Earth Day in 2020 is overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic that’s keeping much of the world self-isolating at home.
So festive gatherings may be off the table, but we can still join in celebrating the Disney Conservation Fund’s contributions to wildlife preservation over its first 25 years:
- $100 million to non-profit organizations to save wildlife;
- 1000 species protected, focusing on apes, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks/ rays, and tigers;
- 53 million kids connected to nature through Disney experiences like those found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and through programs, tools and resources supported by the Disney Conservation Fund;
- 315 million sensitive acres protected; and
- Projects supported in 6 of 7 continents, all 5 oceans and over 100 countries around the world.
Recent Wildlife projects include momentous contributions like these:
- 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) (Jane Goodall pictured top at a previous DCF event, courtesy Disney)
- 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)
The DCF is also involved in projects Protecting the Planet
- Helping 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;
- Supporting implementation of 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.
The DCF also annually recognizes local people or teams who have dedicated their lives to conservation in their communities. So far, it has acknowledged the work of nearly 200 wildlife heroes in 4 dozen countries.
As we wait to create new family memories at Disney parks and cruises, we can learn more about The Disney Conservation Fund on its web site (https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/disney-conservation/), and explore an interactive map of its world-wide projects that help care for the planet and ensure a world where wildlife thrives, and nature is treasured and protected.
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