The Walt Disney Company and Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund Announce The Lion King “Protect the Pride” Campaign

Disney to Donate up to $3 Million to Help Double the Lion Population
by 2050

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–To celebrate the release of Disney’s The Lion King, the upcoming
groundbreaking feature film helmed by Jon Favreau, The Walt Disney
Company (NYSE: DIS) has launched a global conservation campaign to raise
awareness of the crisis facing lions and other wildlife across Africa. The
Lion King
“Protect the Pride” campaign focuses on protecting and
revitalizing lion populations and the habitats they need to thrive.
Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the Wildlife
Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners
and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to help double
the donation for a total contribution of up to $3 million. Fans may
participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing
special-edition products, as part of The Lion King Protect
the Pride campaign.

It’s been 25 years since Disney released the original version of The
Lion King
; sadly, during that time Africa has lost half of its
lions, and only about 20,000 remain. Disney is supporting the Lion
Recovery Fund
and their vision to double the lion
population by 2050 through efforts that engage communities to ensure a
brighter future for African wildlife and their habitats. Protecting
lions supports the entire circle of life in Africa, from hyenas to
meerkats. Lions face rising threats; however, research shows their
numbers can be strengthened if they and the habitats they share with
people and other African wildlife are adequately protected.

“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,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice
president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company.
“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.”

The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has directed $75 million to save
wildlife globally since 1995, including $13 million to protect African
wildlife spanning more than 30 countries. The Lion King Protect
the Pride donation will be DCF’s largest single contribution in its
24-year history, supporting WCN’s Lion Recovery Fund and their work to
engage people in conservation solutions. The Lion Recovery Fund supports
a variety of partner organizations working in Africa and employs a
three-pronged approach to lion recovery: investing in conservation
projects on the ground, developing campaigns that build support for the
protection and revitalization of Africa’s lion populations, and
expanding and strengthening collaborations, as no single entity will be
able to solve this challenge alone.

As a kickoff to The Lion King Protect the Pride campaign, Disney
and WCN convened more than 80 leading lion conservation experts this
past May at the Lion Footprint Forum at Walt Disney World®
Resort, the first meeting of its kind in 20 years, aimed at expanding
collaboration to grow conservation impact. Participants from 18
countries and representing more than 50 organizations and foundations
discussed challenges impacting lion populations across lion range
countries and strategies to address them. Resulting ideas and project
proposals will be considered for support through the LRF.

“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,” said
Charles Knowles, President and Co-Founder of Wildlife Conservation
Network. “The Wildlife Conservation Network is proud to continue its
longstanding collaboration with Disney to make a meaningful impact for
people and wildlife across Africa.”

Help Protect the Pride

It takes many different approaches, which differ by regions, habitats,
and local communities, to help protect lion populations. Fans can
explore The
Lion King
Protect the Pride website
to learn more about The
Lion King
Protect the Pride campaign and find ways that they can get
involved, including:

  • This summer, take part in Protect the Pride lion-related Disney
    experiences celebrating WCN’s LRF, like the Kilimanjaro Safaris®
    Expedition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park in
    Florida during opening week of The Lion King film (July
    ; purchase special-edition Simba and Nala plush lions
    available at certain Disney stores, on, and in select
    U.S. Disney Parks and Resorts locations; Disney Theatrical Productions
    will celebrate with audiences on Broadway during the month of July,
    providing campaign information in Playbills® for The
    Lion King
    ; learn about the history of Disney’s commitment to
    conservation in films and Disney Publishing Worldwide’s support of the
    campaign through The Art and Making of The Lion King book.
    Disney is supporting these and other global opportunities in South
    Africa, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal,
    Spain, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
  • Support lion conservation efforts and learn more about the Lion
    Recovery Fund at
  • Follow The Lion King, the Disney
    Conservation Fund
    , and the Lion Recovery Fund on social media to
    stay up to date on #TheLionKing #ProtectThePride campaign and share
    information with your friends and family about how they can help.

About The Walt Disney Company

Disney, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide
entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media
Networks; Parks, Experiences and Products; Studio Entertainment; and
Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had
annual revenues of $59.4 billion in its Fiscal Year 2018. For more
information about Disney, please visit

About The Lion Recovery Fund

The Lion Recovery Fund was created by the Wildlife Conservation Network,
in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, to double the
number of lions in Africa, to restore the lion population to what it was
25 years ago. In recovering lions, LRF also aims to restore the health
of their landscapes and all that they provide for the communities that
share them.

About Disney’s “The Lion King”

Disney’s “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau, journeys to the
African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father,
King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone
in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s
brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle
for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately
resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound
friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what
is rightfully his. The all-star cast includes Donald Glover as Simba,
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Chiwetel
Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon.
Utilizing pioneering filmmaking techniques to bring treasured characters
to life in a whole new way, Disney’s “The Lion King” roars into theaters
on July 19, 2019.


The Walt Disney Company:
Laura Watson

Bruce Lam

Walt Disney Studios Global Publicity:
Derek Del Rossi

Kara Spector

The Lion Recovery Fund:
Stephanie Carnow

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