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General Discussions Discuss Groups win Disney cash for animal study, care in the Community Center forums; Groups win Disney cash for animal study, care Scott Powers Sentinel Staff Writer July 12, 2006 Sea turtles on Florida's Atlantic coast, dolphins along the Gulf coast and eagles in ...
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    Kellie19891992's Avatar
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    Groups win Disney cash for animal study, care

    Groups win Disney cash for animal study, care

    Scott Powers
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    July 12, 2006

    Sea turtles on Florida's Atlantic coast, dolphins along the Gulf coast and eagles in Central Florida join elephants in Kenya, macaws in Brazil and bears in Malaysia as the latest beneficiaries of the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.

    Walt Disney World announced 83 new grants this week totaling $1.4 million -- made possible mostly by donations from visitors -- for preservation and study of wildlife throughout the world.

    Earlier this year, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund topped $10 million in grants since it started giving them in 1998. Much of the money comes from donations that visitors make while they purchase items at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot's The Living Seas and several other Disney locations.

    "This is a wonderful thing," said Katie Warner, administrator of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, which got $16,000.

    The grant will help the center's 250 volunteers keep an eye on eagle nests and development that threatens them, including many in Orange and Osceola counties, she said.

    A UCF program got $11,000 to use satellite transmitters to track large green turtles from the Atlantic coast, in part to understand why few such turtles are seen anymore in east Central Florida.

    "We've been tagging green sea turtles for about five years now with Disney's help, and some others' help," said UCF research associate Dean Bagley, who's working with UCF emeritus professor Llewellyn Ehrhart. "It's turned out to be a good study. We've found green turtles of that size heading for the Florida Keys. We've had a couple go to the Bahamas, one to Puerto Rico."

    Other recipients include the University of Florida, which is establishing a sea-turtle program in the Bahamas; Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, preserving queen-conch habitat; Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, identifying at-risk dolphin populations; Operation Migration USA, tracking whooping cranes; and the University of Kentucky, monitoring Florida black bears.

    Audubon also got money to monitor roseate spoonbills in Tampa Bay, and UCF and UF programs received grants to work with Florida sharks, rays, butterflies and oyster reefs.

    Other new grants will support mountain gorillas in Congo, Lear's macaws in Brazil, bat colonies along the United States-Mexico border, cheetahs in Namibia, sun bears in Malaysia, coral reefs in the Virgin Islands, elephants in Kenya, sea birds in Maine, boas in Honduras, and penguins in Argentina.

    Beth Stevens, vice president of Disney's animal programs and Disney's Animal Kingdom, said the Disney name on the annual grants also helps scientists attract other money.

    "And it does a lot for wildlife," she said. "It's also really important to those people on the ground all over the world. It doesn't always take millions of dollars to make things happen. Sometimes grants the size of $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 like we give are a huge boost for people who are out doing poacher patrol, or who are trying to get from one community to another."

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    GIOny's Avatar
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    Sounds like a worthwhile cause ! Nice to hear about the soft side of Disney (I usually hear all that corporate banter) !!
    It's kind of fun to do the impossible!

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