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The Wildlife Conservation Society has announced it will host Gala 2011: Elephants and Ivory on Thursday, June 9 at the Central Park Zoo.

For those of you who know me well, you know how much organizations like The Wildlife Conservation Society mean to me. Growing up, I have always been passionate about animals and until recent years, I dedicated much of my life to working with wild animals.

Kristen Colapinto at the Flights of Fancy Gala 2010

Kristen Colapinto at the Flights of Fancy Gala 2010

Last year, I attended the Flights of Fancy Gala (The predecessor to Elephants and Ivory) where I met some of the amazing people  involved with this organization and I am honored to announce this year’s gala on Earth Day of all days!

The gala will highlight WCS’s century-long commitment to elephant husbandry, research and conservation. The evening’s honoree is longtime WCS friend Dr. Iain Douglas- Hamilton, Founder and Director of Save the Elephants.

African Elephant

African Elephant

Gala 2011: Elephants and Ivory is a celebration of WCS’s efforts to save important remaining elephant populations around the world. The evening will capture the grandeur of these incredibly intelligent, social giants, while raising awareness and building support to ensure their future in the wild. The black-tie event will include dinner and dancing set against a stunning party backdrop envisioned by premier event designer and floral architect Preston Bailey, renowned for his ability to transform raw, ordinary spaces into awe-inspiring environments.

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Gala proceeds will benefit WCS’s work in New York and around the globe to protect wildlife and wild places, including conservation of Asian elephants and African savannah and forest elephants. For more than 100 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society has thrilled millions with our collections of wildlife ambassadors, pioneered techniques to guarantee elephant health, conducted research on their behavior and conservation, maintained and strengthened anti-poaching patrols, worked to stem the international ivory trade, and sponsored long-term elephant conservation at sites around the world.

WCS’s continued efforts to protect elephants in the wild have been inspired by a few truly great leaders in conservation, including this year’s gala honoree, Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton. Dr. Douglas-Hamilton is one of the world’s foremost authorities on elephant behavior and conservation and has shaped a generation’s thinking about wild elephants and their importance to our humanity.

Ticket information for the gala can be obtained by contacting: The Event Shop Ltd. at 973.233.1150 or wcs@eventshopltd.com

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit www.wcs.org.

WCS’s Central Park Zoo, located at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, brings WCS’s global conservation work to life through innovative experiences such as the Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard and the Tropic Zone Rainforest exhibits.

If you would like to make a donation in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please visit: www.wcs.org/donation.