Thursday, November 15, 2012

Record year for rhino poaching in South Africa

From the Save the Rhino website

With two months of the year still to go, a record number of rhinos have illegally been killed this year in South Africa. Poachers have slaughtered 488 rhinos so far in 2012, surpassing the 448 killed during the whole of 2011. Over half (296) of the rhinos killed were in Kruger National Park.

These horrific figures show the dramatic rise in rhino poaching over the past decade, where just 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa during the whole of 2007. Poaching is carried out by highly organised criminal syndicates, with rhino horn is now reputedly worth more than gold on the black market. The latest South African government figures show that 214 arrests have been made so far this year.
South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, more than any other country. However there is much concern that the number of rhinos killed will soon exceed the number of births, which will tip the species into decline.

The increase in rhino poaching is mainly attributed to the growing demand for rhino horn from wealthy consumers in Asia, in particular Vietnam and China. Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with demand recently increasing due to unfounded rumours that rhino horn can cure cancer. Other users have been identified who believe that rhino horn has 'detoxification' properties following the consumption of excessive food or alcohol.

More recently, the use of rhino horn as a prized status object has emerged. A number of wealthy Vietnamese individuals have been discovered in possession of rhino horn. In early October 2012, a case emerged of the theft of a rhino horn from a wealthy Vietnamese bank tycoon who was ''gifted'' the  white rhino from someone who apparently shot the rhino during a legal hunt in South Africa in 2006.

Click Here to Learn More About Save the Rhino

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kilimanjaro Safari, the Signature Attraction

If there is a signature attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom, it is Kilimanjaro Safari. It has been there since the beginning and was immediately the headliner at the park. Even with the subsequent openings of Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids, it is still considered by many as the defining ride. Much of the vast amount of space of the theme park is comprised of the safari. The Magic Kingdom could fit into it. And, as a zoo exhibit, the safari is innovative.

The experience begins in the queue. You wind through a forested path at the end of the village of Harambe to begin your journey into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Overhead monitors tell the story of some of the animals here. You will also walk through the ranger station. Take a look at some of the props and posters. Through much of this queue you are able to bring your stroller. It is only near the end where you need to ditch the stroller in the designated parking area. This is a good thing as the line can get long and letting the kids relax in the stroller might prevent an unwanted meltdown.

Click here to read more….

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park News Round-Up for Week of November 7

It’s Christmas Time in the Jungle:  Yes, that’s right.  While it may not feel like Christmas yet in most parts of the country, it is certainly starting to look that way at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Holiday decorations are going up and Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade is about to start as the park’s daily parade.  The Jammin Jungle makes its 2012 debut this Friday November 9 at 3:45pm.  Look for the holiday parade at that same time for the rest of the week.

Park Hours for this week are...

Wednesday: Nov 7 9am - 6pm
Thursday: Nov 8 9am - 6pm
Friday: Nov 9 9am - 8pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Saturday: Nov 10 9am - 7pm
Sunday: Nov 11 9am - 7pm
Monday: Nov 5 9am - 5pm (Extra Magic Hour 8-9am)
Tuesday: Nov 6 9am - 5pm

Check Out Kenny the Pirate for this week’s Entertainment Schedule!

Attraction Closures:
No Closures at this time

Have A Wild Time this week!!

by Dave McBride @davemcb1897

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Finding Nemo the Musical, a Big Blue Review

Finding Nemo the Musical is located in a theater near Dinoland. The theater has been there since the park opened. It was first the home of a Jungle Book stage show that I rather liked. That was replaced by an odd version of Tarzan featuring skate boarders and gymnasts. Several years ago it became Finding the Nemo the Musical, a very different kind of stage show.

First of all, Finding Nemo the movie, as I'm sure you know, is not a musical. Considering the wide range of musical animation in the Disney archives, it seemed strange to pick a movie that required new songs be written. But to be fair, the songs are terrific. They tell the story of Nemo well, helping pare down the movie to a thirty minute stage show.

Click here to read more…

The Cheetah Conservation Fund: Helping Animals to Help Other Animals!

Jambo Everyone is committed to conservation and helping to save the animals that make our experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so great.  We have launched our Jambo Everyone Conservation Effort and part of that effort is to keep you informed, here in our news page, on the work of those organizations we have been honored to work with. 

image copyright Cheetah Conservation Fund

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has many programs aimed at saving the world’s cheetah population.  One of those is a fascinating program called the Livestock Guarding Dog Program.

Cheetahs face many different threats in the wild, but one of the biggest is from humans, specifically farmers looking to protect their livestock from predators.  However, the cheetah lives in a world with serious competition for prey from other local predators of the four-legged variety.   As a result they are often forced towards livestock and that makes them a target.

The CCF is working with farmers on non-lethal ways of protecting livestock from cheetahs, and one of those ways is through the use of guard dogs.  The organization breeds and places to farms in Africa a rather large breed of dog called the Kangal Anatolian Shepherd.  This ancient breed of shepherd has been protecting livestock in Europe for ages.  Males often weigh well over 100 pounds and can bark up a storm, making them the perfect tool for farmers to keep their livestock safe from predators, including cheetahs, who would much rather move on than take a chance against these canines.
image copyright Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dogs begin their work as puppies, placed with livestock at an early age so they can create a bond with the animals they are meant to keep safe.  According to the CCF, the Livestock Guarding Dog Program has so far placed over 300 dogs to farms in Namibia and can report an 80% decrease in livestock attacks as a result.  It is a progressive and effective way to make sure farmers, livestock and wildlife can all exist together.

So basically, we can help the CFF to help animals help other animals.  (That sentence is easier to write than speak!)  Talk about your great “circle of life” moments!  Cheetahs are undeniably a fascinating and majestic animal, but they are in trouble.  Do we really want the planet’s fastest runner to disappear??

To read more about the CFF, the issues facing cheetahs and to donate, visit our Conservation Page and follow the links.

by Dave McBride @davemcb1897

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dinosaur, a Countdown to Extinction

You enter the “Dino Institute” through a lobby area filled with fossils and the kind of scientific information one finds in many a museums throughout the country.  As you pass through you get a quick presentation, with a voiceover by Bill Nye the Science Guy, which gives you a subtle hint into what you are about to experience.  But many guests talk their way through it, so it is on to the briefing room to prepare yourself to experience extinction at work.

You make your way into a small theater for the pre-show, a film aimed at setting the story for the attraction.  Fans of the Cosby Show, and children of the 1980’s, will love the cameo by Mrs. Huxtable, the actress Phylicia Rashad who here plays Dr. Helen Marsh.  Dr. Marsh introduces you to your ride vehicle and what she hopes will be your easy and relaxing time travel into the world of the dinosaurs.  But of course, like in the storyline for nearly all of Disney’s e-tickets these days, something goes horribly wrong.

Click here to read more…

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Avatar, Disney and George Lucas

As we all know by now, Disney has purchased Lucasfilm and all that it encompasses. ILM, Skywalker Sound and the rest of the lot are now Disney properties much like Marvel and ESPN. This, of course, includes the Star Wars franchise. And Disney has already said there will be more Star Wars stuff in the parks. Plus, Disney will be releasing more Star Wars movies in the future, starting in apparently 2015.

I have already seen comparisons between the Avatar announcement and this one. There are, of course, several major differences. First and foremost, Disney has had a long standing relationship with Lucas and none with Cameron. Secondly, and most importantly, Disney did not buy Avatar, they just made a deal for theme park rights to the franchise. While Disney has a real vested interest in the popularity of Star Wars and will do all it can to promote (and cross promote) any new Star Wars products, the same does not hold true for Avatar. Whether or not Avatar does well, really means nothing for Disney.

Or does it? It seems to me that Avatar is a direct competitor to Star Wars for the sci-fi dollars especially as it seems the Avatar sequels will be out during the same time frame as Star Wars 7 and the Avengers 2. Disney, when they announced the Avatar deal made a point of talking about how Avatar could come to other projects like the Hong Kong and Shanghai parks. Guess what, in the announcement of the purchase of Lucasfilm, Iger made a point of saying Star Wars would be added to Hong Kong and Shanghai. You think Disney would put Avatarland in Shanghai or Star Wars land? I doubt it would be both.

So now, Disney will be building a giant Avatarland in the Animal Kingdom only. Will Disney still move forward with the Avatar project at the Animal Kingdom while now owning a rival science fantasy franchise? Would Disney build Star Trek rides while owning Star Wars? Probably not, but as of last week, the once thought dead Avatarland project sprung back to life in the form of leaked blue prints.

Take another peak at those plans. The word Avatar or Pandora does not appear in any form on those blueprints. They are generic without any indication of what they are meant for. There is no indication that it is earmarked for the Animal Kingdom even. It seems rather strange that just a few days before the announcement of the purchase of Lucasfilms (which they have been working on for some time) blueprints for a new major area are leaked. Maybe those plans aren't for the Animal Kingdom or Avatar after all. Maybe they are for a new Star Wars area at Disney's Hollywood Studios or for one of Disney's foreign parks. If Disney wants to build their own Potter, the Star Wars franchise is much more likely to create that buzz than Avatar.

by Safari Mike
Twitter: @JamboEveryone