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Archived: The Disney Conservation Fund Awards $5 Million to Conservation Organizations and Names its 2018 Disney Conservation Heroes

Originally Published by The Walt Disney Company.

The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), continued its more than 20-year commitment to conservation this month by awarding more than $5 million in grants to support 76 organizations working to protect the magic of nature around the world. The fund also recognized 13 people across the globe with the Disney Conservation Hero award, for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and inspire communities to take part in conservation efforts.


“The Walt Disney Company has a rich history of respecting, protecting and preserving our natural resources and wildlife; as such, we are proud to award these latest grants to people and organizations around the world that share our mission,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “Our donation directly supports efforts to save animals and habitats in critical ecosystems across the globe and inspires others to do the same.”

Additionally, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and The Seas with Nemo & Friends were recognized with a 20 Year Achievement in Conservation Award by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, at their annual conference in Seattle on September 26th. This award recognizes the significant impact Disney has had supporting community-based conservation through the efforts of 600 organizations working to save wildlife and wild places in more than half the countries in the world. It also celebrates Disney’s efforts to inspire millions of kids and families around the world to take action for nature.

Since 1995, the DCF has:

  • Directed more than $75 million to conservation organizations working in 120 countries
  • Supported more than 2,000 conservation projects, helping more than 600 nonprofit organizations working hand-in-hand with communities to save wildlife, inspire action and protect the planet
  • Recognized 169 Disney Conservation Heroes for their efforts to protect wildlife living alongside their communities in 48 countries
  • Worked to connect the expertise of more than 180 professionals from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment—from educators to veterinarians—to make a greater conservation impact on the ground

Among this year’s grant recipients, DCF is working with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and its partners to save Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos from extinction in Indonesia. Today, there are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild. IRF is addressing threats to this species, working with communities to ensure these rhinos and their habitats are protected.

One of IRF’s employees, Sumadi Hasmaran, has been recognized as a Disney Conservation Hero for his leadership in the establishment and management of the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS)—a 250-acre breeding and research facility. Sumadi oversaw construction of the SRS and engaged people living nearby through employment and other livelihood opportunities. His dedication to the sanctuary resulted in the birth of the first two Sumatran rhino calves in a managed setting in Asia in more than 140 years, an important achievement for a species on the brink of extinction.

These efforts for rhinos are part of a larger conservation commitment that has helped protect more than 400 species spanning half the countries around the world.

The majority of funding for DCF is provided by The Walt Disney Company and supplemented by the generous contributions of guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and other select Walt Disney World Resort locations, sailing with Disney Cruise Line or staying at select Disney Vacation Club resorts.

For a complete list of the most recent DCF grant recipients, visit www.disney.com/conservation.

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