Florida Coral Rescue Center Marks Fourth Year with Landmark Conservation Efforts

For the past four years, a team of Disney aquatic wildlife experts has teamed with other conservationists on a special mission to help save Florida’s coral reefs from the rapid spread of stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD), which has put 22 coral species at risk of extinction.

What’s Happening:

  • The Orlando-based Florida Coral Rescue Center (FCRC) is a state-of-the-art facility that cares for hundreds of corals that are most at risk of SCTLD. Scientists say the disease has become a widespread issue that has now swept the entirety of Florida’s coral reef and other regions around the world.
  • FCRC corals will play a significant part in the future restoration plans for Florida’s coral reef. The breeding program is focused on ensuring genetic diversity of offspring and will provide the tens of thousands of baby corals required to restore the reef.
  • Disney is one of the accredited groups leading the charge and helping fund the facility and assist in coral conservation alongside the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
  • First opening in 2020, the FCRC has been monumental in its efforts, providing a safe, stable environment for more than 500 coral colonies to receive world class care from a team of science experts.
  • Caring for coral is a complex endeavor, and Disney’s teams have grown this expertise both through their dedication to the wellbeing of coral in their care at The Seas at EPCOT, and their leadership in a longstanding collaborative reef conservation program in The Bahamas.
  • A team of researchers from Disney Cruise Line and Disney Conservation have worked since 2007 to reverse the decline of coral reefs in The Bahamas, partnering with several local organizations to expand coral restoration.
  • In total, Disney has planted more than 1,900 corals to rehabilitate five coral reefs in The Bahamas, helping to provide important habitats for multiple marine species including endangered Nassau grouper and spiny lobster.
  • Building on this long-term commitment to helping protect and restore coral reefs, Disney teamed up with multiple collaborators to help establish the Florida Coral Rescue Center.

What They’re Saying:

  • Dr. Mark Penning, vice president of Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment: “With the Florida coastline as home to Disney Cruise Line and part of our backyard, we know keeping coral reefs healthy is essential to the vitality of our coastline, underwater ecosystems, and our economy. Disney has long been a leader in coral conservation, particularly through our ongoing efforts in The Bahamas, and we are honored to support efforts to rescue and protect Florida’s coral reefs and work with others who share our passion so we can save nature together and make a difference.”
  • Dr. Andy Stamper, Disney Conservation Science Manager: “The effort to reverse the collapse of an entire ecosystem isn’t something that can be done without the herculean efforts of many people with a diversity of talents and resources. I consider it a privilege to play even a small part in this huge effort.”
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Luke Manning
Luke is a fan of all things theme parks and self-proclaimed #1 fan of Joffrey’s Coffee, who lives in Kissimmee, FL