Today, we’re proud to announce this year’s “Disney Conservation Hero” award recipients.
Each year, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) recognizes individuals who work tirelessly to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate communities. The eight-year-old program has honored nearly 70 people since it began.
Honorees are nominated by DWCF-supported nonprofit organizations and receive a $1,000 award to share with the organization. Meet this year’s heroes:
Antonio Urbana, Zoo Atlanta and Zootropic: Antonio invented a character used to help teach more than 100,000 people about the highly endangered beaded lizard and the arboreal alligator lizard in Guatemala.
Corps of Community Park Guards, University of Wisconsin Foundation and Fundación Cordillera Tropical: This team patrols Ecuador’s largest protected area on the eastern Andes and monitors cameras to research and protect the endangered Andean bear. Their dedication has aided in the protection of 20,000 hectares of bear habitat.
David Ngala, Peregrine Fund: David is a bird expert who contributes to scientific research in Kenya’s Arabuku-Sokoke Forest, including work with two projects funded by the DWCF. He has located more than 1,400 animal traps and helped arrest poachers by documenting nearly 900 paths around the forest.
Fikri Kiponda, Local Ocean Trust – Watamu Turtle Watch, with Fauna & Flora International: Firkri cares for injured sea turtles in Kenya, and protects them by helping with research and building relationships with local fishermen. He grew the organization’s network from four to more than 300 fishermen.
Ledjie Taq, Integrated Conservation: Ledjie Taq, a tribal leader in Indonesia, led efforts to locally protect 38,000 hectares of Wahea Forest. With help from Integrated Conservation, he started a program to conduct a forest biodiversity study, enlist forest guards from the community and partner local youth with elders to learn traditional knowledge connected with nature.
Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, Wildlife Alliance: This team, created in partnership with the Cambodian government, combats illegal wildlife trade in the country by responding to tips regarding the illegal shipment and possession of wildlife. Since its inception, the team has rescued 50,000 live animals including Asian elephants and Malayan sun bears.
Congratulations to this year’s Disney Conservation Heroes!