Disney’s photorealistic computer-animated The Lion King will debut July 19, twenty-five years after the original animated classic. In that time Africa has lost half of its lion population with only about 20,000 remaining. Inspired by the upcoming release, Disney announced The Lion King Protect the Pride Campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing lions and other African wildlife. The campaign will focus on protecting and revitalizing the lion population.
Disney is supporting the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), which aims to double the lion population across Africa by 2050. Charles Knowles, President and Co-Founder of Wildlife Conservation Network said:
“The Lion Recovery Fund has a vision to bring lions back across Africa, and Disney’s powerful storytelling is a perfect way to get even more people aware of the lion crisis and inspired to take action. The Wildlife Conservation Network is proud to continue its longstanding collaboration with Disney to make a meaningful impact for people and wildlife across Africa.”
In May, more than 80 lion conservation experts from 15 countries took part in the Lion Footprint Forum at Walt Disney World Resort as a kickoff for the Protect the Pride campaign.
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has already donated $1.5 million to the LRF and its partners and hopes to double that through additional grants and fan support. Fans may participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing special-edition products. Ways that fans can be involved include:
- Ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park in Florida during the opening week of The Lion King film (July 19 – 25, 2019). DCF will donate $2 for every rider (up to $350,000) to WCN LRF.
- Purchase Special Edition Simba and Nala plush lions (40,000 available at stores worldwide). Disney will donate $5 USD for each plush to WCN LRF.
In addition, Disney Publishing Worldwide and the DCF will donate $25,000 to the WCN in honor of the new book “The Art and Making of The Lion King” and Disney Theatrical Productions will provide campaign information on playbills for The Lion King on Broadway through the month of July.
Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company said:
“Disney is committed to supporting lion conservation efforts and we believe The Lion King is the perfect story to remind us of the role we each have in helping ensure a world where these majestic animals are treasured and protected. Conservation has always been a core value of The Walt Disney Company and that commitment is apparent in everything from our films to our theme parks and is why we created the Disney Conservation Fund. Through the stories we tell and the experiences we create, we have the power to reach people around the world and inspire them to take action with us.”