Isn't this little animal the cutest thing? Just look at its adorable face! The yellow-backed duiker is a type of antelope that lives in Africa. It feeds on fruit, seeds, fungi and foliage and it is very widely found in Africa. Go by that section of the Animal Kingdom if you want to see them.
The African elephant is one of my favorite species of mammals. This huge, peaceful herbivore is an amazing animal to watch in its natural habitat, mesmerizing in all of its grandeur. They are a vulnerable species, because they are often poached for their ivory tusks. If you want to see them at the Animal Kingdom, just head to their Africa area.
The Ball Python, also known as the Royal Python, is an interesting species of python. It is one of the smallest of its kind and it is non-venomous, so it is very commonly traded as a pet, especially when its docile character is taken into account. African rulers would actually wear this python as an accessory, isn't that incredibly cool? You can check them out at Rafiki's Planet Watch in the Animal Kingdom.
Who thought the lemurs were, hands down, the best part of the Madagascar movie? Me! Not only in the movie, but in real life as well, this species is a really interesting one. Ring-Tailed Lemurs are incredibly social, so they live in groups of up to 30 individuals, and they cuddle together to bond and to keep warm. They form female-dominant groups, too, so they are a very interesting species to study. They are relatively facing extinction due to threats to their natural habitats, but they still manage to have very long lifespans. If you want to find these cute little animals at the Animal Kingdom, go to Discovery Island!
The Yellow-billed Teal is probably one of the cutest ducks Mother Nature has ever come up with. Even when fully grown, they still look like chubby little ducklings, making them perpetually adorable. Another curious and, to me, adorable thing about them is one particular behavior that is unique to them: after mating, they always take a swim alongside their partner. This teal comes from the south of South America, from countries like Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil. If you decide to travel to any of these places, you will see plenty of them, so they are under no risk of extinction for now. Still, since it is quite a long trip towards the end of the Southern Hemisphere, you can always visit the Animal Kingdom to see them! They are located at the Oasis area of the park, around the main entrance.
If you are a real fan of conservation and nature, there is nothing I could recommend more than Animal Kingdom's Backstage Safari. In this three-hour tour, you get to go behind the scenes and see the theme park's staff working directly with the animals. The tour guides for this "ride" are generally really friendly and willing to let you in on some of Animal Kingdom's conservation secrets, so it is a fun way to find out more about the park as well. It goes through where the animals are kept and taken care of, so you also have the chance to see many of the animals up close. One time I took it, a giraffe came all the way to our tour bus and it was amazing to see it acting all curious about us. The Backstage Safari also takes you to the veterinarian hospital at Animal Kingdom, where you can see the animals being nursed back to health or treated for whatever they need. I especially loved taking my nephew there because he was really impressed with the idea that I would be doing something similar to that in the future; of course, not at such great scale, though! Part of this tour is going on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, too, so you will definitely have the opportunity of seeing animals in their natural habitats and routines. At the end of the tour, you also get refreshments and a souvenir to remember your adventure.
The Scarlet Macaw is a beautifully colorful large bird that comes from the humid forests of South America. You can find it in the South-East of Mexico, in Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil. Although it has faced extinction due to localized capture for trade and habitat destruction, it is still commonly seen in some of its natural habitats. One lovely thing about this species is that it mates for life. It is truly a wonder to see Scarlet Macaws up close, so it is great that you can find them at Animal Kingdom's Oasis area.
Disney's Animal Kingdom is very well-known for the great care they take of the animals that live in the park. This is only logical, of course, since they are definitely the main attraction of the theme park. One little-known fact, though, is that they are also helping -on a smaller scale, of course- fight animal extinction. Black Rhinos, for example, are a very rare species in their natural habitat now. Because of a history of poaching and a recent spike in the activity, there are around 250 black rhinos left in the world. In 2012, though, a mother rhino gave birth to a calf in Animal Kingdom and, of course, he has been well taken care of. Another species that has greatly been helped by Animal Kingdom's special care is the Micronesian Kingfisher. These birds are native to the islands of Guam, Palau and Pohnpei, but they are no longer seen in these areas. Due to the introduction of the brown tree snake in their habitats, they have been practically extinct for a few years now. Only existing because of conservation breeding, there are currently less than 150 birds of this species in the whole world. The worst thing is that breeding them is especially difficult, because incompatibility between males and females. Still, a pair of chicks were born at Animal Kingdom a few years ago as well. It is an admirable task on their part.
This bird, native of Sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the tallest of storks. Birdwatchers say that seeing it in flight is an incredible experience. And how could it not be? The saddle-billed stork is huge and has beautiful plumage! If you want to check them out, they are at the Discovery Island area of Animal Kingdom.
All animal lovers know that tigers are not really the most active animals. Under normal circumstances, they actually like to sleep somewhere around 18 to 20 hours per day. Of course, this would make the Maharajah Jungle Trek a lot less interesting for visitors, so the Disney crew had to come up with something to do about it. They decided to use a program called "enrichment" on them, which basically consists on adding new things to their environment every now and then. This is meant to make them curious and want to wander around to explore the newly added elements, thus being stimulated to stay active and moving for people's amusement. Of course, it is a clever way to keep them up, but I wonder if it is really any good for their sleeping schedule. Given the fact that they are used to sleeping during the day and hunting during the night, how can they deal with their feeding times, then? While this issue is also present, to a lesser extent, with other animals, it is easier to deal with than with tigers. One thing they do a lot is camouflage feeders in open areas to attract animals to them.