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‘Dr. Mark’ Offers Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses of Disney’s Animal Nutrition Center

Credit: @drmarkatdisney Instagram

Even though many Disney Guests don’t think much farther than their Kilimanjaro Safaris experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are some Disney Guests who yearn to know what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to animal care and upkeep (particularly when the animals include African species like rhinos, gorillas, and okapis). One of the best sources for behind-the-scenes looks into the Animal Kingdom’s operations is @drmarkatdisney, which is an Instagram account created by Dr. Mark Penning (who is the Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment department).

Credit: @drmarkatdisney Instagram

Recently, Dr. Mark and his team went on Instagram to share a video of Libby (an African crested porcupine from the Animal Kingdom) and to demonstrate the amount of curation that goes into her meals. Disney prides itself on caring for the ‘wild’ animals in its care, and each animal’s health, happiness, and nutrition is taken into consideration. According to the Instagram post, “every day, Cast Members at [the] Animal Nutrition Center prepare more than 10,000 pounds of restaurant-quality food for a variety of animals”. That’s a lot of food!

Credit: @drmarkatdisney Instagram

In the post’s video, Mel (who is an Animal Nutrition Assistant in the Animal Kingdom’s Anima Nutrition Center) “packs a lunch” for African crested porcupine Libby. “After scooping biscuits into her bin, I start to work on chopping up the fruits and veggies,” Mel explains. “Today, Libby is getting a ton of yummy, healthy things including lettuce, corn, squash, and apples. I measure everything out super carefully and pack it safely away. Then, the delivery team makes sure the food gets to where Libby lives.” Apparently, Libby was a “fan of the corn today”.

Credit: @drmarkatdisney Instagram

Credit: @drmarkatdisney Instagram

Animals are always a surefire hit with audiences, and Disney Guests’ interest in animals is definitely significant when they’re visiting the Animal Kingdom. Behind-the-scenes tours are available for anyone who wants to learn more in-person about Disney’s animal care operations, but did you know that Disney has also been groundbreaking when it comes to the conservation of species? Whether they’re breeding endangered rhinos to help the population recover from poaching or giving grants to other important conservation organizations around the world, Disney’s animal-focused Cast Members are making a difference. And sometimes that big differences comes from packing a porcupine’s lunch!

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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