The Wildlife Tracking Center at Disney's Animal Kingdom
The Wildlife Tracking Center (WTC) at Disney's Animal Kingdom is an exciting lab where researchers work every day to find ways to help conserve wildlife and wild places. Our mission is to provide everyone with a fun, interactive first-hand experience with cutting edge conservation research projects as they are being performed. All of the work in the WTC is designed to assist us in better caring for wildlife and wild places.
The WTC provides an opportunity to highlight some of the technology that is used to study animals in the field and in captivity. In this lab, we study things we can't easily see or hear … hence the references to "tracking." As we learn more, we can use this information to help us develop long-term conservation programs for these species.
The three main areas of research at the WTC are:
DAPCAST: Disney’s Animal Programs Cast Helping Wildlife around the World
Disney’s Animal Programs Cast Members assist wildlife locally and around the world through DAPCAST- Disney's Animal Programs Conservation Action Strategy Team. DAPCAST supports cast members in developing and participating in local, national and international field conservation programs. Projects and studies focus on species, habitats and issues considered of critical concern and those that emphasize scientific study, education initiatives and sustainability. Among the programs underway are....
Guam Rail Health Assessment
Walt Disney World Animal Programs veterinarians and animal care professionals have formed a unique partnership with the Guam Rail recovery team in order to save this critically endangered species and return it to its native habitat. Click here for more of the story.
Sea Turtle Conservation
The Walt Disney Company has long supported sea turtle conservation through scientific research, rehabilitation, release and education programs. Disney’s Animal Programs scientists, researchers, educators and animal care staff are continuing that legacy with a variety of innovative projects and programs. Click here for more of the story.
Uganda Conservation Education Project
Animal Programs Education and Science cast members Kathy Lehnhardt and Dr. Tammie Bettinger trained staff at the Kalinzu Forest Reserve Uganda, Africa in interactive ways to teach students how and why to protect the forest and the wildlife that live there. The Animal Programs team partnered closely with staff from the Jane Goodall Institute to create ongoing school and community programs at the newly constructed Kalinzu Forest Refuge Education Center.
Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance Evaluation Project
Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA) member sanctuaries are dedicated to providing the best possible facilities and care to captive primates in Africa, while working towards the protection and conservation of the species in the wild. Many of these animals were orphaned or confiscated due to the illegal pet trade.
Cast members Kathy Lehnhardt and Dr. Tammie Bettinger traveled to Limbe, Cameroon to deliver a workshop to teach sanctuary education staff about the importance of evaluation. They worked individually with staff from each sanctuary to develop an evaluation tool specific to their individual programs. Evaluation enables each sanctuary to determine the impact of their conservation messages on their audiences. As a result of incorporating evaluation techniques, the educators will be able to use this data to emphasize the importance of education funding and the programs effectiveness.
Lola ya Bonobo, a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, completed pre/post assessment questions that show the effectiveness of their education programs on wildlife club members
Wildlife Monitoring Project at Walt Disney World
It may be hard to believe, but more than 30 years ago, Walt Disney set aside more than one third of his planned Florida theme park property to be dedicated conservation habitat. Today, Animal Programs conservation biologist Dr. Anne Savage and Animal Programs cast members are monitoring local wildlife on many of the 10,000 acres that is part of this conservation area integrated throughout Walt Disney World property. Species that are being studied include white-tailed deer, gopher tortoise, American alligator and a variety of bird and butterfly species. This project is designed to gather critical conservation data about each species strengthen conservation partnerships and develop cutting-edge monitoring techniques.
Collaborative Health Research on Captive and Free-Ranging African Rhinoceros and Elephants
Disney's Animal Programs veterinarian Michele Miller collects blood from an immobilized rhinoceros in South Africa. The blindfold is used to minimize any stress on the animal. Disney veterinary staff are partnering with wildlife professionals from Kruger National Park and other American zoo vets to enhance the health of rhinoceros and elephants in the wild and in captivity. Together they are identifying health priorities, improving data collection techniques and enhancing communication between zoo and wildlife professionals with a goal of better animal management. Click here for more of the story.