Lions! Hear Them Roar

Donors raise a whopping $872,000 to save endangered lions at wildlife conservation gala

Donors raise a whopping $872,000 to save endangered lions at Zoo gala

Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Event chairs Dr. Kelli Cohen-Fein, Martin Fein. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Bruce Niemeyer, Cathy Niemeyer, Andy Cerota
Bruce Niemeyer, Cathy Niemeyer, Andy Cerota. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Annie Graham, Bob Graham
Annie Graham, Bob Graham. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Beth Robertson, Dr. Cullen Geiselman
Beth Robertson,  Cullen Geiselman. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Gardner & Deborah Cannon, Anne & Charles Duncan
Gardner Cannon, Deborah Cannon, Anne Duncan, Charles Duncan. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Jim Postl, Stephen Kaufman
Jim Postl, Stephen Kaufman. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Dingos with Guests
Dingos with guests. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Guests with Betsy Garlinger, Sybil Roos. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Jane Block, Kathy McGovern, Nancy Pustka. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Wally Wilson & Jeanie Kilroy Wilson
Wally Wilson, Jeanie Kilroy Wilson. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Lynne Averett with Fiesta the Llama. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Lion PRIDE Group. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
2015 Houston Zoo Conservation Gala dinner scene. Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Bruce Niemeyer, Cathy Niemeyer, Andy Cerota
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Annie Graham, Bob Graham
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Beth Robertson, Dr. Cullen Geiselman
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Gardner & Deborah Cannon, Anne & Charles Duncan
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Jim Postl, Stephen Kaufman
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Dingos with Guests
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015 Wally Wilson & Jeanie Kilroy Wilson
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2015

What: Houston Zoo's "Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala."

Where: In a white party tent on Zoo grounds.

The 411: It was all about saving lions on this evening that raised a whopping $872,000 for conservation efforts around the world including international African lion conservation alliance Pride. Six members of the organization spoke to the generous gathering of 425 on their efforts in Africa.

Many in the crowd, as is Zoo supporters wont, dressed in animal prints and safari-inspired attire, adding a note of whimsy to the very serious effort. Estimates are that there are only 30,000 lions remaining in Africa, half the number of 20 years ago.

Interestingly, a good chunk of the change raised — more than $191,000 — came from the live auction and pledge drive. Most popular item in the silent auction was the sea turtle research and rehabilitation tour in Galveston with Houston Zoo sea turtle expert and head veterinarian, Dr. Joe Flanagan. The silent auction alone raised $42,000. Tops in the live auction was a jaunt to Italy that went for $13, 500.

Who: Emcee Andy Cerota of KPRC Channel 2, the evening's honoree Cullen Geiselman, Houston Zoo board chair Suzanne Nimocks, Deborah and Gardner Cannon, Jeanie Kilroy Wilson and Wally Wilson, Anne and Charles Duncan, Alie and David Pruner, Annie and Bob Graham and Sybil Roos.

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