by Scott Terrell, DVM, DACVP, Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
If you’ve visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom since the park’s 20th anniversary earlier this year, you may have noticed a colorful new addition. Many cast members in the park are wearing new costumes that highlight some of the threatened and endangered species Disney is working hard to support in the wild.
The costume’s intricate mosaic designs are beautifully created, and the stories behind them are remarkable – sometimes even surprising. For example, did you know that more than 20,000 species of butterfly have been found around the world?
Cast members can now choose among three styles featuring animals that fly, such as cranes and butterflies; those that swim, including sharks, rays and turtles; and those that live on land, like elephants, rhinos, tigers and gorillas. Guests will see the costumes in various lands around the park.
While Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers lots of thrilling attractions, delicious food and soaring entertainment, some of the most memorable experiences our Guests have are their interactions with our cast members, learning something new about the magic and beauty of nature and the importance of Disney’s conservation efforts around the world.
The more our cast members can be advocates for their favorite animals, the more inspired our Guests will be to take actions that help support these animals in the wild. This is just another way our Guests also learn more about Disney’s global conservation efforts through research, field work and the Disney Conservation Fund. The Disney Conservation Fund has directed more than $70 million to reverse the decline of wildlife in more than half the countries in the world.