Friday, August 14, 2009

Walt Disney World Cares and Conserves

Florida is environmentally unique thanks to the beautiful Everglades and our Atlantic and Gulf beaches. But because of our position in the United States, we are also affected by tropical storms and hurricanes that can cause damage to homes, locations and our environment. Back in 2004, Hurricane Charley ripped through Central Florida causing $15 billion dollar’s worth of damage to the state and the Orlando theme parks. The Holiday Inn near Downtown Disney had to close completely and many parks closed for safety purposes. But while residents prepared and parks closed, Disney was lending a helping hand to the local wildlife facilities. Manatees, dolphins and turtles were all evacuated from Mote Marine in Sarasota to the Living Seas at EPCOT and to certain areas of SeaWorld. This move was just one of many Disney takes every year to make sure it participates in saving animals and the environment.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the prime example of Disney’s motivation to save the environment. Not only is Animal Kingdom a theme park, but it also serves as a research and conservation center. The park even has a few breeding programs that have been highly successful in breeding animals that are endangered. This July, Nande, a 10-year-old white rhino that used to live at Animal Kingdom, gave birth to her own little baby rhino in Uganda. Disney has been working closely with Ugandan animal groups to help save the endangered species. Over in Australia, Disney provided emergency funding to wildlife conservation groups struggling to save animals hurt this year in the wildfires in Australia back in March and donated $8,000 in emergency funding to two organizations, the Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA) and Save the Elephants (STE).

Back on the home front, Disney also does conservation efforts over at EPCOT. Just recently they released “Bock," a manatee Disney rescued back in 2001 as part of a manatee rehabilitation program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When Disney rescued Bock, he was only 500 pounds. Now at 8 years old, Bock weighs 1,000 pounds and has been successfully released back into the wild.

There are big and little things the Disney family does to help the environment. From recycling at the parks to bigger conservation efforts like the ones in Africa, Disney lets the world know it cares about the Earth. So make sure you do your part next time you’re at the parks and dispose of your garbage properly. Don’t forget the three R’s too: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.


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