You probably wouldn’t guess it, but the baseball fields of ESPN Wide World of Sports and the flamingo nests at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom have a lot in common. Specifically, the baseball clay used to build pitcher’s mounds.
Animal Kingdom is home to thousands of animals, including two different species of flamingos: the lesser flamingos and the greater flamingos.
The lesser flamingos can be found near the Discovery Island Trail’s Tree of Life, where the flock has been building nests and attempting to breed for twenty years.
The greater flamingos, however, can be found on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride, and they have had much better luck during the breeding season. While the greater flamingos have welcomed dozens of chicks in the same timeframe, lesser flamingos have only welcomed one!
So, the Walt Disney Company got to work and put their heads together to improve the conditions of the flock’s habitat within the Disney Park. Considering that innovation and progress are synonymous with the Disney experience, finding a solution didn’t take long.
The wilderness explorer who goes above and beyond will know that the pink feathered friends build their nests out of dirt and mud. They’re typically built taller than you’d expect to keep the eggs safe from water, predators, and the elements as they prepare to hatch.
Animal Kingdom’s animal care team decided to try something different for reinforcing these unique nests: baseball clay.
The results have been phenomenal and resulted in a new chick named Sandy, along with several eggs.
This is fantastic for many reasons, but the greatest reason is that the lesser flamingo is “one of the most threatened species of flamingos due to habitat loss and habitat destruction” according to Disney Park News. So the addition of baseball clay into their habitat has done tremendous work for increasing the number of lesser flamingos in the world!
Even when it takes a little thinking outside the box, Disney’s animal care team is always willing to put in the work required to improve the lives of its animal residents!