Disney disclosure

Global Conservation Scientist, and Disneynature Ambassador, Dr. M. Sanjayan, grew up in Sri Lanka. He was often surrounded by wild monkeys similar to the ones we see in Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom. In fact, he recalls that his 6th birthday cake was stolen by monkeys just like a scene played out in the movie. Yes, this actually happens in Sri Lanka!

Dr M Sanjayan

Dr. M. Sanjayan

Dr. M. Sanjayan is not only the Disneynature Ambassador for Monkey Kingdom, but he is also the executive vice president and senior scientist for Conservation International. Yet his amazing line of work only begins there. Most recently, Dr. Sanjayan also hosts “EARTH A New Wild,” a television series currently featured on PBS. Filmed in 29 countries and produced by National Geographic and Passion Pictures, the series reveals how humans are inextricably linked with wild nature. It plays well into his role for Monkey Kingdom.


As we sat with him and had lunch yesterday, we quickly learned how passionate Dr Sanjayan is about his job. Not only did he share his own story about monkeys stealing his 6th birthday cake in Sri Lanka, but he shared fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. For instance, Maya, the star of Monkey Kingdom, is apparently a camera ham. Any time she saw a camera she would make herself present. Even while he and Jane Goodall were being interviewed, Maya made herself present in the background.


But who was his favorite character? He said Maya or Kumar would have been too easy. So his choice? Grandpa. As a social species, he knows he has the help of the troop to survive. You just have to see the movie to understand. I would have to agree with him by the way. Grandpa is pretty amazing.


Even watching the movie, Dr Sanjayan was able to learn more about the toque macaques. His favorite scene involves the monkeys swimming underwater. Truly, it is an inspirational part of the movie that captures your emotions and is beautiful to watch.

Monkey Kingdom

How does he describe the movie? He says, “Monkey Kingdom is the perfect mix of Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones in the Jungle Book setting.” There ya go! 1,008 days of filming and hours of film to go through for this one incredible movie.

By the way, if you purchase tickets to see Monkey Kingdom during opening week, Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats. These projects support programs across Indonesia, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. Conservation International will:

  1. Protect monkeys and other endangered species
  2. Save and restore forest habitats
  3. Partner with and support local communities

Monkey Kingdom opens in theaters everywhere on April 17th. Swing into your local theater to see it opening week!