Last night, the Houston Zoo hosted 425 guests at its annual Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala where it honored prominent Houston conservationist, Cullen Geiselman, Ph.D, and raised funds for African lion conservation alliance Pride. Pride is an alliance of wildlife conservation leaders across eastern Africa who direct carnivore long-term conservation projects and are committed to working together to use their collective knowledge and experience to increase the effectiveness and impact of their conservation efforts. Early estimates show that event raised $872,000. The proceeds will go towards animal conservation projects around the world, including Pride.
Scientists estimate there are less than 30,000 lions left in Africa, half the number of 20 years ago, and the biggest reasons for their decline are conflict with people and loss of habitat and prey due to human population growth. Each of these conservation leader’s programs focus on ensuring peaceful solutions for their communities to live with wildlife, within Pride they can share their best practices and unit on community-based approaches for greater impact over broader areas.
Houston Zoo guests raised their “paws” for a lively live auction and pledge drive totaling $191,150. The biggest draw of the live auction was “Trip for 2: Bespoke Journey to Northern Italy’s Milan and Lake Como (Includes airfare on United Airlines),” won for $13,500. The intense silent auction raised more than $42,000 in total. The most fought over prize of the evening was the “Sea Turtle Research and Rehabilitation Tour, Galveston TX with Houston Zoo Sea Turtle Expert and Head Veterinarian, Dr. Joe Flanagan” with 74 bids!
Notable guests included event emcee KPRC-2 anchor Andy Cerota, former Houston Zoo CEO Deborah Cannon, honoree Dr. Cullen Geiselman, Wally and Jeanie Kilroy Wilson, Charles and Anne Duncan, Bob and Annie Graham, event co-chairs Kelli Cohen Fein and Martin Fein, Houston Zoo Board Chair Suzanne Nimocks, Alie and Dave Pruner, Sybil Roos, and Wildlife Conservation Network Founder Charlie Knowles.