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Houstonians go wild for a good cause at zoo's annual conservation gala

Houstonians go wild for a good cause at zoo's annual conservation gala

Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Joe Cleary_ Joe Cleary III and Madeleine Gregory
Joe Cleary, Joe Cleary III, and Madeline Gregory. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Cynthia Walker Mac Walker
Cynthia Walker, Mac Walker. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Curly Sloth
A Curly sloth.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Ron and Demi Rand_ Sue Chin and Lee Ehmke
Ron Rand, Demi Rand, Sue Chin, and Lee Ehmke. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Winell Herron and Myrtle Jones
Winell Herron and Myrtle Jones.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Trang Cormack and Dr. Arnaud Desbiez
Trang Cormack and Dr. Arnaud Desbiez. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Lacey Dalcour Salas Jason Salas
Lacey Dalcour and Jason Salas.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Kelley Lubanko, Steve Lubanko
Kelley Lubanko and Steve Lubanko.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Fiesta Llama and Nikki
A Fiesta llama and keeper, Nikki.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Auction Chair Christina Lyons_ John Young and Amanda Weber
Christina Lyons, John Young, and Amanda Weber. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Courtney Solleveld, bas Solleveld
Courtney Solleveld, Bas Solleveld. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Andy Cerota
Emcee Andy Cerota.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Joe Cleary_ Joe Cleary III and Madeleine Gregory
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Cynthia Walker Mac Walker
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Curly Sloth
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Ron and Demi Rand_ Sue Chin and Lee Ehmke
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Winell Herron and Myrtle Jones
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Trang Cormack and Dr. Arnaud Desbiez
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Lacey Dalcour Salas Jason Salas
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Kelley Lubanko, Steve Lubanko
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Fiesta Llama and Nikki
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Auction Chair Christina Lyons_ John Young and Amanda Weber
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Courtney Solleveld, bas Solleveld
Houston Zoo Conservation Gala 2019 Andy Cerota

What: The Houston Zoo's Wildlife Conservation Gala

Where: The Houston Zoo

The scoop: More than 500 guests guests packed the Houston Zoo's Masihara Pavilion for the 12th annual Wildlife Conservation Gala. This year's gala was dedicated to raising funds for the wetland jewel of South America, the Pantanal, and the event collectively raised nearly $715,000.

KPRC anchor and reporter Andy Cerota emceed and spoke of his own connection to the zoo through last week’s journey to the Pantanal where he got up-close to the Houston Zoo’s efforts to save giant armadillos in the wild. Houston Zoo conservation partner Dr. Arnaud Desbiez, of the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project, was the evening’s speaker.

Desbiez regaled the crowd with tales from the field in Brazil and spoke passionately about the work the Houston Zoo is doing to save South American species like the giant armadillo and giant anteater. 

Attendees dressed in their colorful attire and dined on a meal with a Brazilian flair. A salada de palmito was followed by a main course of prime-aged, grilled beef tenderloin medallions with chimichurri corn and smoked chili flan asparagus tapioca. Dessert included a chocolate torte with passion fruit meringue, macerated mangoes, and Brazil nut alfajore. 

Some of the evening's most in-demand items included an eight-day summer escape to Telluride, Colorado; dinner for 20 at the Nau Family Gorilla Treehouse with feeding experience; and the opportunity to name a wild giant armadillo. 

Who: Lee Ehmke and Sue Chin, Ginger Blanton and Renee Renfroe, Christina Lyons, Jason Salas and Lacey Dalcour Salas, Dr. Cullen Geiselman, Bas and Courtney Solleveld, Myrtle Jones, Joe Cleary, David and Nancy Pustka, Ron and Demi Rand, Zac and Courtney Harmon.