Disney World Park Involved In Unique Animal Testing

in Walt Disney World

kilimanjaro safaris

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park opened on April 22, 1998, giving Disney Park Guests a whole new world to explore.

disney world animal kingdom tree of life
Credit: Disney

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Famed former Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde was instrumental in bringing the theme park to life. Upon his retirement in January 2021, the Explorers’ Club member shared with D23:

“It started with Animal Kingdom… Of course, no theme park had ever been based on animals, and the rulebook for how to do a theme park didn’t match up very well with animals. So it really started with the analysis of how could we ever take this system—the theme park system and everything that it represents—and what would we have to modify and change to get it to work with animals. And one of the things that was going to have to happen was a very serious commitment to wildlife conservation. If you want to do this, there is no way to do it without making a serious commitment to education and conservation.”

disney imagineer joe rohde
Credit: Disney

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Now, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is continuing Rohde’s commitment to conservation and wildlife research with a new, unique program. Harambe Wildlife Reserve resident, Helen — a 30-year-old white rhinoceros — has been fitted with a fitness tracker to help scientists better understand how many steps per day she takes and which areas of Disney’s savanna habitat she prefers.

rhino at disney's animal kingdom
Credit: Disney

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Per ABC News:

The data it produces will be shared with more than two dozen other institutions participating in a large research project studying the best ways to care for rhinos at facilities, said Scott Terrell, a veterinarian who is director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

“By doing this research and using this technology, we can really focus in on the physical fitness of the rhinos as a component of their health and well being,” Terrell said.

animal kingdom bird
Credit: Disney

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ABC also noted that Helen’s caretakers have been working to get her accustomed to wearing the device around her ankle. The Disney-owned new outlet also shared that if the rhino “continues to appear comfortable wearing the device, which will be taken off at night, eventually two-thirds of the nine white rhinos at Animal Kingdom will be wearing the devices out on the savanna.”

More on Kilimanjaro Safaris and Harambe Wildlife Reserve

disney world kilimanjaro safaris giraffe
Credit: Disney

The official description of Disney’s popular safari ride and wildlife refuge reads:

A Truly Wild Adventure
Explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to 34 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands. Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary 18-minute expedition.

Unique Animal Encounters
Spot a shy hippopotamus nestled in a still pond. Behold a regal lion sunbathing on a rocky perch. Drive past a gentle giraffe grazing on the tall trees or wave hello to a swinging baboon. Other amazing animals you may encounter include rhinos, cheetahs, crocodiles, elephants, hyenas and zebras—and so many more!

Since animals have minds of their own, every expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience. Be sure to keep your eyes open and have a camera ready—you never know what you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.

What do you think about Animal Kingdom’s unique new animal testing program?

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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