The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) is currently accepting applications for its 2009 grants. Since its inception more than 10 years ago, the DWCF has contributed more than $12 million to the study and protection of the world’s wildlife and ecosystems, providing funding for a variety of conservation projects from Philippine Cave Bats and Southern Laotian tigers to educational programs in Florida and research studies in Congo.
Specific criteria and details about the 2009 application process are now posted at www.dwcf-rfp.com. Proposals are due January 21, 2009 with decisions announced by June 2009.
In 2008, the DWCF worked with 75 non-profit or organizations on 107 projects to help 87 kinds of species in 44 countries.
“The 2008 recipients embody the global focus of the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund,” said Jerry Montgomery, Senior Vice President, Conservation & Environmental Sustainability, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Funding these efforts around the world is one of the most important contributions we can make in support of conservation.”
In 2008, the DWCF partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International to build the first gorilla rehabilitation center in eastern Africa which is designed to rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce orphaned gorillas into the wild. The 150-hectare center will be able to house as many as 30 endangered eastern lowland and mountain gorillas.
The DWCF worked with the People & Predators Fund to educate students in rural areas of Africa about their local environment and ecology through a conservation workbook, entitled “Your Environment with Lions.”
Some of the other 2008 programs receiving funds include:
- Bat Conservation International: Conserving Philippine Cave Bats – Partnering with the Philippine government, University of the Philippines and others, Bat Conservation International will initiate bat research, education and conservation programs.
- Caribbean Conservation Corporation: Archie Carr Refuge Education Program – The Carr Refuge is the most important site for sea turtle nesting in the United States. This program provides a focal point for educational exhibits, programs, field trips and summer camps.
- The Nature Conservancy: Establishment of New Red-cockaded Woodpecker Population at the Disney Wilderness Preserve (please cap this whole sentence to be consistent?) – The Nature Conservancy has reintroduced this endangered bird in Central Florida, with funding used to monitor birds released in 2007 and translocate 10 more birds to the site in 2008.
- Wildlife Alliance: Kouprey Express Direct Action Education – The Kouprey Express is a traveling unit that has delivered interactive environmental education sessions to 65,000 rural students and community members in Cambodia since 2004.
- Wildlife Conservation Society: Mbeli Bai Study – Due to their dramatic population decline, western gorillas are now considered critically endangered. The Mbeli Bai Study in northern Congo provides detailed demographic data of a large gorilla population to assess the impact of threats, allowing for the planning of recovery.
- World Wildlife Fund: Tiger Conservation in Southern Laos – World Wildlife Fund will determine the status and distribution of tigers and their prey in southern Laos, and establish a comprehensive tiger conservation program.
In addition, the DWCF Rapid Response Fund helps with recovery from natural disasters such as the catastrophic earthquakes in 2008. Grace Gabriel, Regional Asia Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), says the recent emergency grant from DWCF helped fund IFAW’s efforts to protect animals in China. According to Gabriel, “the help from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has meant more capacity and more resources to extend efforts to help both animals and people recover from this devastating disaster.” The DWCF Rapid Response Fund has supported more than 90 relief efforts in the past 9 years.
DWCF is funded by Disney and donations from guests of Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line. Everytime you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom and buy a button with the above logo, you’re contributing.
For a complete list of DWCF projects, please visit www.disneyconservation.com