by Anne Savage, Ph.D., Ph.D., Conservation Director, Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment
We are thrilled to see audiences are enjoying Moana. The film debuted in theaters with the second-largest five-day Thanksgiving opening of all-time!
In the film, Moana encounters enormous challenges, impossible odds, a demigod named Maui… and sea turtles!
Like Moana, sea turtles face many challenges. The Disney Conservation Fund and Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment team are working with the University of Florida to help address these challenges and reverse the decline of sea turtles.
Did you know that Florida is an extra-special place for sea turtles? Our sandy beaches offer nesting areas for more of these majestic animals than anywhere else in North America. At Disney’s Vero Beach Resort in Florida, guests can join a Disney team of sea turtle conservation specialists who survey the beach during the nesting and hatching season, May through October.
Throughout this year’s season, specialists at the resort were on the beach each morning to carefully mark nests for protection. And the payoff? … more than 100,000 hatchling sea turtles entering the sea! Many of these tiny turtles set off on their grand journey buoyed by cheers from our guests. What a thrill!
Guests also took part in counting the eggshells that hatchlings left behind in nests. These counts revealed that hatching success was high this year. It was good luck that Hurricane Matthew passed after most of our nests had already hatched.
Love sea turtles? Come join us! Guests at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort learn how sea turtles live, what threatens them and what we can all do to help them survive. Our specialists meet guests on the beach each sunrise of the season, and kids get to take part in Turtle Tracks, a program that helps kids explore the amazing world of sea turtles.
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring sea turtle experience our guests have at the resort takes place on summer nights in June and July. On these Sea Turtle Night Walks, guests have the opportunity to explore the beach at night with a sea turtle specialist and – if they are lucky! – experience an up-close encounter with a 300-pound mother turtle as she lays her eggs in the sand. The guided experiences spark curiosity, wonder and emotion in our guests, and most of our guests report a renewed interest in conservation actions that help these amazing animals.
To learn more about our findings this summer, check out the infographic below on the awesome sea turtles of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. For more information on sea turtles and how Disney is helping this species in the wild, visit www.DisneyAnimals.com.
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