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Call for Disney to donate Lion King profits to conservation

“We believe that The Walt Disney Company is best placed to take a lead in investing in pragmatic programs that make a real difference for wild lions,” says a letter addressed to Disney CEO, Robert Iger, and penned by non-profit organisations For the Love of Wildlife, Blood Lions and Nature Needs More, requesting conservation contributions from the next Lion King blockbuster.

You may have read in the last week, that after a meeting with leading conservation groups Disney has announced a $3 million contribution to lion conservation.

But let’s interrogate this, in the lead up to the July 2019 Lion King launch. An initial donation of US$1.5 million has been made with a promise of about $1.5 million to follow.

1. Firstly, US$1.5 million is less than 0.02% of what Disney has made from the Lion King franchise to date.

2. If you add in the US$13 million Disney has donated to conservation programs across Africa since 1995, then the donations to-date amount to less than 0.2% of what Disney has made from the Lion King franchise.

3. Most concerning is that much of what they are offering is based on up front spending of “fans” and customers, US $5 from every Simba toy sold, $2 from every ride taken at Disney Animal Kingdom, which leaves you asking…who is really donating, the company or the “fans”?

More worryingly is that fact that we are told that conservation most respected organisations were part of the round-table with Disney to negotiate this donation. We must assume that these conservation brands have very little ability to influence when between them they have only been able to liberate such a paltry amount from this corporate giant, whose reputation and brand are both devalued by this shamefully cheap gesture.
Read more here:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/disney-announces-lion-king-inspired-global-conservation-campaign-1215863

A call to Disney from the wild

The Lion King brand has grossed just under US$8.1 billion for the Walt Disney Company yet Disney Conservation Fund has donated US$70 million+ to save wildlife (which may include ‘guest contributions’). Whilst this is welcome, it represents only 0.9% of what has been made from The Lion King franchise alone.

For the Love of Wildlife, BloodLions, Nature Needs More and sixteen other organisations are asking the Walt Disney Company that a percentage of the US$8 billion+, made from The Lion King franchise (movie, theatre, merchandise, etc) to-date, be directed to the conservation of wild lions, as well as a percentage of all the funds generated from this point on, given the reboot of the franchise.

For example, we would ask the Walt Disney Company to cover the cost of implementing a global e-permit system that fully integrates with customs worldwide to ensure the traceability and trackability of flora and fauna from source to destination and, as a result, reduces the possibility of laundering illegal product in to the legal marketplace. Discussion with a number of CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna) representatives have confirmed that this would cost somewhere between US$20 million and US$40 million, less than one year’s salary for the Disney CEO Robert Iger.

Walt Disney himself spoke of creating a place “Where Dreams Come True”, but in the case of The Lion King, maybe this will become “Where Dreams Meet Reality given the plummeting populations of wild lions and the realistic possibility of extinction. How would Walt Disney himself respond to future generations (Disney’s key customers) asking why they only have documentaries and movies to remember iconic species and the King himself?

And don’t get us started on the stupidity of resurrecting Dumbo!

See our letter to Mr Robert Igor, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.