Wildlife Conservation Gala

Wild time: Zoo gala raises $1 million to save endangered rhinos

Wild time: Zoo gala raises $1 million to save endangered rhinos

Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis
Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Norman the prehensile-tailed porcupine
Norman the prehensile-tailed porcupine. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Sean McNicholas, Audra McNicholas
Sean McNicholas, Audra McNicholas. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Sue Chin, Lee Ehmke
Sue Chin, Lee Ehmke. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, David Pustka, Nancy Pustka and Randa Weiner, K. C. Weiner
David Pustka, Nancy Pustka, Randa Weiner, K. C. Weiner. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Holly Alvis, Austin Alvis
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Norman the prehensile-tailed porcupine
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Sean McNicholas, Audra McNicholas
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, Sue Chin, Lee Ehmke
Houston, Zoo Ball, Oct. 2016, David Pustka, Nancy Pustka and Randa Weiner, K. C. Weiner

Once, hundreds of thousands of rhinoceroses roamed Africa. Today, scientists estimate that less than 30,000 of the magnificent mammals are left in the world. Leave it to the Houston Zoo to gather supporters together to raise funds for rhinoceros conservation efforts in the wild.

Gala chairs Nancy and David Pustka and Randa and K. C. Weiner hosted over 600 guests at the ninth annual Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala, which took place on the zoo grounds.Themed appropriately enough, “Saving Rhinos – Stories from Africa,” the special event honored former Houston Zoo director and the 2016 World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Heini Hediger award winner Rick Barongi, along with longtime Houston Zoo supporter Donald Kendall.

Proceeds, which topped one million dollars, will go to three causes: organizations that employ local people to guard rhinoceros in the wild, incentive programs that increase support for villages where rhinoceros populations are protected, and educational outreach.

Animal lovers in the crowd included Raoul du Toit and Natasha Anderson of the Lowveld Rhino Trust, Jeff Muntifering of Nambia’s Black Rhino Trust, event keynote speaker Joel Sartore, Betsy Garlinger, Holly and Austin AlvisSybil Roos, Diane Ledder, Jane Block, Sean and Audra McNicholas, and Natasha Anderson.

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