Gala raises more than $100,000 for zoo

November 13, 2018

The Endangered Species Gala, which took place Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Patterson Club in Fairfield, raised more than $100,000 for Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. A portion of those funds is earmarked for the development and construction of a new tiger habitat.

Roughly 200 guests attended the gala, emceed by science and technology writer David Pogue. Pogue has written or co-written seven books in the “For Dummies” series and lives in Westport. The guest speaker was Richard Wiese, Emmy-award winning producer, author of the book, “Born to Explore: How to be a Backyard Adventurer,” and president of the prestigious Explorers’ Club. Wiese lives in Weston.

The event included cocktails, musical entertainment, a seated dinner, live and silent auctions, and visits by animal ambassadors from the zoo, including Xena the barred owl, Max the Flemish giant-mix rabbit, and Gloria the boa constrictor.

“This was the first annual gala, with a second to follow in 2019,” said Committee Co-chair Kathy MacGhee in a news release. “Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is home to important species protection work. I’m delighted that so many members of the community recognized that the Zoo is truly a jewel in Fairfield County, and came out to support their work.”

The birth of two Amur tiger cubs a year ago this month and three Maned wolf pups last December has helped to focus attention on the zoo’s participation in the Species Survival Plan, a species management program administered by the association of Zoos and Aquariums for its member zoos.

“We’re proud to be home to a number of endangered species,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho in the release. “In addition to critically endangered Amur tigers, the zoo is home to two of the world’s rarest big cats, the Amur leopard. Our conservation mission is fulfilled by participating in the Species Survival Plan, contributing to worldwide conservation efforts, and providing a sanctuary for many species who may be protected in theory, but no longer have a safe home in the wild.” He added that that included Red wolves, Chacoan peccaries, Golden-lion tamarins, and Red pandas. A number of other Zoo residents, he said, are considered vulnerable or threatened.”

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