Disney’s philanthropy reaches Uganda


KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – Disney World’s Animal Kingdom recently sent a team to Uganda to participate in the 10th anniversary event of the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which hosted a conservation symposium at the Metropole Hotel in Kampala.

Disney Animal Kingdom has been a strong supporter of the re-introduction of the rhinos to Uganda and has already donated two mature Southern White Rhinos to the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU)’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The generosity of Disney did not end there, as supplementary donations were made to keep the sanctuary’s breeding program alive and moving it towards its objectives, but also in support of education programs which involve neighboring communities and schools. Earlier in the year, new GPS tracking equipment was also sent to Ziwa.

While in country, the two Disney executives, Dr. Tamara Bettinger and Mr. Joseph Christman, took time to meet with RFU executive Heidi Cragg and members of the RFU Board for a presentation on the status of the sanctuary and to evaluate the results of most recent movement surveys and the resulting data.

It was revealed during the meeting that visitor numbers to the sanctuary for the first six months of 2008 are again substantially up from the previous year, largely attributed to new services now available at the sanctuary. RFU has recently completed the construction of self contained, clean and functional overnight facilities.

The sanctuary has also opened basic shared accommodations for school groups and participants of overland truck tours on limited budgets and prepared a campsite that can be used for visitors with their own tents. Lunches are now also served at the sanctuary with prior bookings, adding a much-needed service for day visitors’ en-route from Kampala to Murchisons Falls National Park. A 4×4 vehicle is now also available for hire to go on game drives in the 18,000-acre sanctuary for visitors who arrive in their saloon cars.

The current chairman of the RFU, well-known hospitality guru Dirk Ten Brink, then hosted the Disney visitors in the presence of other RFU officials for a luncheon at his Kololo residence. The executive director of the Jane Goodall Institute, Mrs. Debby Cox, also participated, underscoring that conservation has no boundaries in regard of species.