In Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Still Full of Life: Welcome Porcupette

If a baby is born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and there are no guests there to see it, does she still exist?

Why yes. She most definitely does. 

©Disney Parks Blog

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With the closure of Walt Disney World and Disney’s other Parks around the world, I know we’re all feeling a little more cut off than we’d like from the magic.

As a local, the silence outside can feel deafening. I used to wake up to the sound of the ferry horn and train whistle. Our late evening activities were accompanied by the boom of the fireworks outside and then the music of the Electrical Water Pageant. Last night I was sitting on my lanai working and couldn’t help but notice how dark the sky was without the glow of Magic Kingdom just a mile or two away.

And so it makes a huge difference to know how the Parks continue on without us. That they’re still somehow bustling with life during this time….

So what more perfect time to see new life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Let’s all take comfort in this wee porcupette. (YES that’s what they’re called as babies. How perfect…)

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In the midst of this global pandemic, the Disney Animal Care Team is working behind-the-scenes to care for the thousands of animals that still, of course, call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home. Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney Animal, Science and Environment and his team are hard at work ensuring that all of the animals continue to thrive during this temporary closure. And that includes caring for one very special new addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: this baby prehensile-tailed porcupine! 

©Disney Parks Blog

The baby was born to mom, Peri, on February 25th.

©Disney Parks Blog

If you’ve seen the One Day at Disney documentary on Disney+, you may remember seeing Peri getting an ultrasound with Disney veterinarian Dr. Natalie. Peri gets continual care from Cast Members like Dr. Natalie – from annual exams, to pregnancy check-ups, to the birth of her porcupette, and now of course, the post-partum care that every once new mother knows is so important.

Porcupettes are covered in a fine red fur coat, but they’re also born with their tiny quills underneath, which begin to harden hours after birth. Those quills are actually what helped the team determine the baby’s gender. They actually had to be sent off for DNA testing to determine the baby’s gender. And guess what? It’s a girl!

©Disney Parks Blog

In the meantime, Peri continues to thrive in her role as a mother, which is part of why she was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP). This program is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals.

With so many families at home together right now, Disney is going to be sharing more stories and insights about their animals and the amazing Cast Members who are caring for them.  I know, for me, this is an invaluable way to stay feeling connected to life in the Parks.

If you don’t already do so, I’d very much recommend following Dr. Penning’s Instagram account, @DrMarkAtDisney. He’ll be sharing #BetterTogether learning opportunities there soon – but if you head there right now you might find a surprise…because another baby was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom just this weekend!!!

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Be sure to check out the full story of Peri and her porcupette and all of the wonderful Cast Members caring for them on the Disney Parks Blog, as well as on Disney’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and on Twitter @DisneyParks

#DisneyAnimals #DisneyCastLife

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