Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team is collaborating with multiple groups to help ensure the sustainment of rhino populations in zoos and other accredited facilities.
- Disney Parks Blog has shared that the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team is collaborating with 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 TB Research Group from Stellenbosch University, South Africa to help in the sustainment of rhino populations in zoos and other accredited facilities as wild rhino populations have continued to dwindle due to illegal poaching for their horns.
- The group’s research will focus on four priority areas:
- Physical fitness and its role in the overall health of rhinos.
- Iron storage in browsing rhinos – essentially, ensuring they have the right amounts of key nutrients including iron.
- Reproductive success, ensuring healthy populations.
- How behavior and environmental factors may help the well-being of rhinos.
- The research will take place over three years before it is shared with veterinarians and animal care staff at the 74 AZA facilities currently caring for rhinos.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has seen 12 southern white rhinos born to date, including a calf born this month and another due later this year. This is in part due to the Species Survival Plan, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species.