Dr. Mark Penning is the Vice President: Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, overseeing animal care and environmental initiatives at the company’s parks and resorts around the world. Leveraging the meaningful field conservation initiatives supported by the company, his team shares inspirational stories and experiences of nature and animals with our theme park and resort Guests. His role includes oversight of the company’s use of animals in film and television from an animal welfare perspective, and ensuring the responsible portrayal of animals.
Mark is a veterinarian by training, and was born and raised in South Africa. He owned and operated a veterinary hospital and a wildlife relocation business in South Africa before joining Walt Disney Parks and Resorts six years ago. He specialized in the treatment of birds and reptiles, and has done surgical work in the field on lions, elephants and a host of other species. He previously served as CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) based in Durban, South Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to marine research and conservation. He has also served as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) based in Switzerland.