Disneynature announced today that its "See Oceans, Save Oceans" campaign will protect more than 35,000 acres of coral reef in The Bahamas on behalf of the moviegoers who came out to see Disneynature's motion picture Oceans during its opening week. Through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Disneynature will help establish new marine protected areas through the The Nature Conservancy's Adopt a Coral Reef program. At 55 square miles, this protected area of coral reefs will be almost two-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan or the equivalent of more than 412 Disneylands, supporting the expansion of the West Side National Park of Andros.
The Bahamas represent an important ecosystem, straddling the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The 700 islands that comprise The Bahamas contain miles of vital coral reefs, which are the foundation of a healthy ocean environment, providing shelter, nurseries and feeding grounds for hundreds of marine species, including dolphins, sea turtles and a wide range of fish. Scientists estimate that the coral reefs of the Caribbean could be gone in 50 years without a network of well-managed marine protected areas.
"We're excited to once again collaborate with The Nature Conservancy on an initiative that takes the impact of Disneynature's storytelling to an entirely new level," said Alan Bergman, president of The Walt Disney Studios. "The health of our oceans is absolutely vital to the well-being of our planet and thanks to the supporters of Disneynature's motion picture Oceans, this investment in marine conservation will help ensure critical aquatic environments will thrive for future generations."
"Disneynature has captured the beauty, wonder and fragility of our world's marine habitats and species in Oceans, said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. "We appreciate Disney's commitment to help protect marine areas in The Bahamas, which is home to 30 percent of all coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean. With Disneynature's support, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are making significant progress toward our ambitious goal of doubling the total amount of marine protected area in The Bahamas."
Throughout Earth Month, Disney also supported The Nature Conservancy's initiative in stores and online adding an additional 4,000 acres protected. In Disney Stores (DisneyStore.com), proceeds from sales of eco-friendly "Save Planet Earth" reusable bags benefit the Adopt a Coral Reef program. In addition, a donation on behalf of the company's environmental youth initiative, Disney's Friends for Change (Disney.com/projectgreen), is also supporting the cause allowing kids to vote on which region of coral reefs the contribution will protect.
In The Bahamas, 300,000 acres are currently protected along the west side of Andros Island. The Nature Conservancy and its local partners have worked to define new marine protected area boundaries, which would result in growing the total protected area from 300,000 acres to more than a million acres.
This is the second consecutive year that Disneynature has collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to protect the planet. Last year, Disney offered to plant a tree in honor of every moviegoer who saw Earth in the first week of release. This resulted in the planting of 2.7 million trees in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, one of the planet's most endangered rainforests as part of The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign (plantabillion.org). Similar initiatives through DVD sales and Disney Store promotions pushed that number to nearly three million trees.
For more details on Disneynature's collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, please visit disney.com/Oceans.