DISNEY

Save a species with science


As a scene from a comic, Disney partners with some of the brightest minds to get a bigger good and its mission is to save the rhinos.

The group, which includes collaborators from the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team, The Wilds, George Mason University, the South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation, the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW ) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the animal tuberculosis research group at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, plan to work together to ensure the success and maintenance of thriving rhino populations at zoos and other facilities. Accredited.

Wild rhino populations continue to decline due to an alarming amount of illegal poaching. Unfortunately, their horns are still being chased, which continue to be used as state symbols and in some forms of traditional medicine. Because of this, managed populations of rhinos in accredited facilities are increasingly important for the survival of the species.

I feel fortunate to work closely with these majestic animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, where we can offer guests the opportunity to learn more about this endangered species and the threats facing nature. Seeing a member of our Rhino (or family) fall at Kilimanjaro Safaris up close creates a lasting memory for our guests and helps inspire future generations to help preserve them. And through the Species Survival Plan, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure responsible breeding of endangered species, our rhino accident continues to grow. So far we’ve had 12 southern white rhinos born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, including a calf born just this month, with another to beat this year.

The group’s research will focus on four priority areas identified by the Rhinoceros Research Council of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2019:

  1. Physical fitness and its role in the overall health of rhinos.
  2. Iron storage in sailing rhinos essentially makes sure they have the right amount of key nutrients, including iron.
  3. Reproductive success, ensuring healthy populations.
  4. How behavior and environmental factors can help the well-being of rhinos.

While each of these four areas is critical, they offer a comprehensive view of how to ensure the best care for rhinos in accredited facilities. This collaborative research will take place over three years before being compiled and shared with veterinarians and animal care staff at the 74 AZA facilities that currently care for rhinos.

Working together and combining forces, this extraordinary team of experts will provide a basis for recommendations to help ensure that rhinos receive the best care and are available for several generations.





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