The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund holds a place near to my heart. It carries on the work of Walt Disney by preserving the outdoors, ecosystems, and animals that were so close to Disney’s success with the True Life Adventure series. In recent years, Disney has made a big impact via Disney’s Animal Kingdom animal care staff and the DWCF grant program. This year’s grantees were just announced with nearly $1.5 million awarded to conservation efforts around the world
“As part of Disney’s longstanding commitment to the environment, the work supported through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is more important today than ever in helping preserve our planet’s most precious resources,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Environmental Affairs, The Walt Disney Company. “We are proud to support these organizations that are truly making a difference around the world to aid in the protection of wildlife and the natural environments they depend on to flourish.”
The funding enables nonprofit organizations to provide support for more than 45 species across the globe–from protecting the critically endangered Sumatran rhino in Indonesia, to tracking northern jaguars in the foothills of Mexico, to studying the threats of the endangered green sea turtle.
Over the past decade, the DWCF—through support from The Walt Disney Company and Disney Guests—has provided more than $15 million in grants for the study of wildlife, protection of habitats, land management plans, community conservation and education. Along with a focus on support for species and habitat conservation science, the DWCF encourages programs that engage local residents and benefit both human and animal communities.
Below is a highlight of some of this year’s recipients:
- Wildlife Trust: Black Lion Tamarin Conservation through Research and Community Involvement – Wildlife Trust teaches communities about sustainable development alternatives, including tree nurseries and handicrafts, to protect the black lion tamarins living in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
- Northern Jaguar Project: Northern Jaguar Feline Photo Project – In an effort to reduce jaguar mortality and build conservation alliances with rural landowners, Northern Jaguar Project works directly with local ranch owners in Mexico to monitor and protect the species.
- Save the Elephants: Elephants and Bees – Save the Elephants minimizes human-wildlife conflict by studying and researching innovative strategies to reduce crop-raiding. By using beehives as a deterrent, community crops are left un-touched and families have a new source of income through honey production.
- University of Hawaii: Conserving the Green Sea Turtle in Hawaii – This program advances the understanding of the impact of pollution on endangered green sea turtles. Through further research, conservationists are able to work more effectively with local communities and governments to protect the turtles.
- International Rhino Foundation: Sumatran Rhino Conservation – The Sumatran rhino is considered the most endangered rhino species with numbers declining more than 70 percent in the past two decades. International Rhino Foundation is protecting the species through research and outreach programs in local communities.
To date the DWCF has accomplished the following milestones:
· More than $1 million to primate conservation efforts
· More than $900,000 to protect cats worldwide
· More than $850,000 to elephant conservation
· More than $850,000 to study and save sea turtles
· More than $625,000 to rhino conservation efforts
Since 1998, the DWCF has also awarded more than $575,000 in Rapid Response funds to assist with more than 120 environmental and animal emergencies. In the past year, the DWCF has provided more than $125,000 to support efforts worldwide including veterinary care and vaccinations for animals in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti and rehabilitation efforts for the thousands of sea turtles affected by the winter cold snap in Florida. In 2009 additional support was provided through Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green in which 100 percent of iTunes proceeds of the inspiring program anthem “Send it On” were directed to environmental charities through the DWCF.
Learn more about the grantees and the DWCF at Disney’s Conservation website.