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Nov 16, 2022

Today’s guest is Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney Animals, Science, and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resort. He oversees animal care and environmental initiatives around the world and leverages field conservation initiatives supported by the company. His team shares inspirational stories and experiences of nature and animals with theme park resorts and guests.

He is a trained Veterinarian who owned and operated a veterinary and wildlife relocation business in South Africa before joining Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He specialized in the treatment of birds and reptiles and has done surgical work on lions, elephants, and a host of other animals. Listen in for some great stories about his adventures caring for some of the world’s most precious animals.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • [3:11] Learn more about Dr. Mark Penning and his passion for animals
  • [7:58] Dr. Mark shares about his role at Disney
  • [10:56] How Gino the Gorilla impacted Dr. Mark
  • [18:13] The gorilla orphanage in Rwanda and the DRC
  • [20:52] How bees keep elephants from destroying crops 
  • [25:06] Disney’s efforts that protect the planet
  • [28:50] The importance of captive breeding programs
  • [33:42] Dr. Mark’s love for his personal animals 
  • [38:27] What listeners can do to protect wildlife
  • [42:11] What Dr. Mark did that brought him joy

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Mark Penning


Dr. Mark Penning oversees animal care and environmental initiatives for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products at our sites around the globe. Mark is based at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and also leads the teams responsible for Disney field conservation efforts to protect wildlife and wild habitats around the world, and the responsible portrayal of animals and nature in Disney film and television productions. 

Mark is a veterinarian by training, with a special interest in wildlife. He previously served as CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research in Durban, South Africa - a non-profit organization dedicated to marine research and conservation. He has served as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an organization based in Barcelona representing the premier zoos and aquariums around the world. He sits on the board of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and is a Trustee of Wild Welfare, a UK-based animal welfare organization.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative of CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest's content linked on this site.

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