During Earth Month, we look to nature to bring hope and inspiration during these unprecedented times. Throughout April, Disney will be sharing the Magic of Nature with you and your family, unifying Disney fans and animal lovers, and inspiring environmental stewards to celebrate and draw magic from the incredible world around us. I remember celebrating Earth Day at Animal Kingdom last year and it was an amazing time. This year, even though we may not be able to go to the parks, there are many exciting things still happening. From conservation practices, the Disney Animal Care Team being recognized and even new life being introduced.
Conservation and protecting the environment is an important priority across Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and they are proud that they put this philosophy into practice every day in the work that that do. From taking care of thousands of animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and across Walt Disney World Resort, to conserving water resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste across their business. These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Because of this team’s dedication and hard work, Disney is a recognized leader in animal care and conservation. Most recently, that recognition included Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge once again earning accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) during this Earth Month. AZA accreditation is the gold standard in animal care, and I’m incredibly proud of the entire Animals, Science and Environment Team for earning this stellar accomplishment.
The Disney animal care team is also passionate about conservation. In partnership with the Disney Conservation Fund, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, we’re working to help save wildlife, inspire action and protect the planet. Those efforts support nonprofit organizations and the health of hundreds of species, like the Grauer’s gorilla. I remember last year they where raising funds to save the amazing elephants and lions that are being threatened to endangered levels.
They constantly work to not only share, but protect the magic of nature. I am sure that many of us have driven past or ridden by the awesome sight of Mickey made from the solar panels that energize the resorts and parks. Truly a marvel to look at.
Also, this month, we were informed that their was a new addition to the Animal Kingdom family; a little zebra foal named Asha. I’m delighted to share she just made her grand entrance onto the Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna with her mother, Heidi. Asha’s name means “hope” in Sanskrit, and “life” in Swahili, and it was chosen by Walt Disney World Cast Members, who had a chance to vote on potential names. While normally they reserve the naming of a new baby for the Cast Members on their animal care team, Disney decided to ask all Walt Disney World Cast Members to help choose this little one’s name as a special opportunity for all Cast to be part of a beautiful moment in this challenging time in the world.
Going into the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, I encourage you to take a moment to pause and reflect on our brilliant planet, appreciating all of its natural wonders. Whether it is learning something new about animals and ecosystems through Disney Magic Moments and NatGeo@Home, or simply admiring the world around us, we can all be inspired by our planet. And to help inspire this wonder and magic, I am thrilled to announce the launch a new series, #AskDrMark, on DisneyParksBlog’s Instagram, @DrMarkAtDisney. What a privilege it is for us as Disney fans to be able to access such an amazing team of really smart people who can help answer our burning questions and curiosities about wildlife and the environment.
Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog and follow me on Instagram as we to continue share in the magic of nature. You can also join the conversation by using #DisneyMagicofNature on social media.