ATCN News

June 28, 2006

Disney Grant Supports Community Awareness Activities in Cambodia

The IUCN Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) has been selected by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund (DWCF) for a $19,000 award for its work with endangered turtles. Specifically, the DWCF funds will go toward community-based environmental education for turtle conservation in coastal Cambodia.

The TSA was selected from more than 240 applications reviewed by scientists, veterinarians and other animal experts.  The organizations range from large national groups to small community efforts, from Africa to Florida, and in total received $1.4 million in awards, bringing the DWCF total to more than $10 million in conservation projects supported.

?The ability to enable such important work to protect wildlife and wild places is a key component of Disney?s mission,? according to Jerry Montgomery, Sr. Vice President of Public Affairs, Walt Disney World.  Montgomery oversees the DWCF program through Disney?s office of conservation initiatives.  He said the programs chosen demonstrate solid science, engage local communities, and measure the impact being made to protect the environment.   ?We also appreciate the fact that many of our Guests who visit Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Cruise Line contribute to DWCF, showing their own personal commitment to conservation.?  Disney pays all overhead costs of the program and Disney?s corporate outreach program supplements DWCF awards. For a complete list of Disney Wildlife Conservation projects visit www.disneywildlifefund.com.
  
The flooded forests and coastal regions of Cambodia are vitally important for turtle conservation, yet these habitats are largely unrepresented in the existing protected area network.  The coastal region contains the only known Cambodian populations of the Mangrove Turtle, Batagur baska, listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.  The seasonally flooded forests and lowland marshes are also home to at least six other tortoise and turtle species.  This project aims to secure the long-term conservation of wild, breeding populations of threatened turtles by implementing environmental education activities in the twelve communes in and around primary turtle breeding areas.  Utilizing the experienced resources of the renowned Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) program, staff from the Cambodian Department of Fisheries, the BP-funded Cambodian Turtle Conservation Project, and community rangers from the WCS-managed Batagur project will all be trained