Wildlife Wednesday: Scientists Provide Great Care for Animal Moms and Babies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Giraffes, white rhinos, sable antelopes, gorillas and a red river hog were among the animals that celebrated their first Mother’s Day this past Sunday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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The Science Operations team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hard at work helping provide great care for our animal moms and babies. Our team performs pregnancy tests almost every day for animals in the park and at the Lodge. We can predict the mother’s due date to help animal keepers prepare for the delivery, and in some species we can even determine whether the baby will be a girl or a boy!

Wildlife Wednesday: Scientists Provide Great Care for Animal Moms and Babies Wildlife Wednesday: Scientists Provide Great Care for Animal Moms and Babies

How do these tests work? By doing tests to measure an animal’s hormone levels. We share our findings with other scientists by publishing them in scholarly journals, and our endocrinologists mentor scientists here at Disney and advise others at zoos around the world on our techniques.

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You can see our scientists in action at the Science Center at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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Did you know?

  • Endocrinologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom perform 20,000 hormone tests each year!
  • Giraffe are 6 feet tall at birth.
  • White rhinos are pregnant for 17 months.
  • Newborn sable antelope are born with a light, sandy brown coat that will gradually darken as they mature.
  • A newborn gorilla is able to cling to its mother’s front with a very powerful grip from both its hands and feet.
  • Red river piglets “play possum” when they get scared. This means they pretend to be unconscious when approached by a potential predator.

Congratulations to our mothers here at Disney and all over the world!

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Wildlife Wednesday: Scientists Provide Great Care for Animal Moms and Babies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom by Katie Leighty, Ph.D., Katie Leighty, Science Operations Manager: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog


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