Gorilla Doctors, gorillas, fundraiser, great apes, veterinary medicine

Drs. Mike Cranfield & Kirsten Gilardi presenting an auction item

Board member Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria and her husband Ike opened their beautiful home in Beverly Hills to Gorilla Doctors supporters on Saturday, March 25th.  “Gorilla Love 3” was an intimate invitation-only event to raise money for Gorilla Doctors, hosted by Lara and Ike, Board member Jack Karuletwa, Tracey Gluck, and Tim Campbell.

L-R: Ike & Lara Zekaria, Tracey Gluck, Jack & Jennifer Karuletwa, & Tim Campbell

The evening proved that even a small group of people can make a huge impact.  Thanks to the generosity of our gracious hosts and Gorilla Doctors friends in attendance, $42,000 was raised for Gorilla Doctors in under an hour, all of which will go to supporting our critical work to ensure the survival of the world’ remaining mountain and Grauer’s gorillas in Africa.

Donors cuddling their Gorilla Doctors plush toys

The live auction was a major highlight of the evening.  Bidding was off to a great start with lots of competition for two farm-to-table dinners for 12 home-catered by chef Giorgio Curti, who also provided catering for the evening.  Additional auction items: a restaurant package (including HInoki and the Bird, Crossroads, and Cuvee Robertson), and at-home services package of yoga lessons with Wendy Obstler of Divine Spark Yoga, dog training sessions with Michael Chill of Animal Services Dog Training and integrative therapy massage by Keri Frankenstein.

Gorilla Love 3 guests gathered in the den

Part-way through the auction, Lara presented a beautiful video about Gorilla Doctors and Dr. Mike Cranfield and Dr. Kirsten Gilardi gave short presentations.  As soon as they were done, two stunning mountain gorilla photos by Mark Edward Harris went fast, as did a staycation package (deluxe room at the Beverly Hilton, dinner at Susan Tracht’s Modern Chop House JAR), and a Maui getaway (garden view room at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea).  And for the grand finale: a luxury trip for 2 (including a safari in the famed Kenyan Masai Mara and trek with mountain gorillas in Rwanda) donated by Terra Incognita Ecotours.

Amber Perry (right) had the winning bids on the Maui getaway & luxury Terra Incognita Ecotour

All proceeds from the auction and individual donations received by Gorilla Doctors go directly to supporting our work in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We approach gorilla medicine from a “one health” perspective – a belief that the health of one species is inextricably linked to that of its entire ecosystem, including humans and other animal species  In addition to funding our veterinary work, Gorilla Love 3 donations enable Gorilla Doctors to deliver preventive healthcare to the hundreds of park workers who spend every day protecting the gorillas, provide life-changing career training for young African veterinarians, and conduct surveillance and research to better understand diseases shared by people and gorillas.

Intrepid saleswoman Alicia Zekaria (left) collected $1,000+ in donations from plush toy sales

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone for the support we received during the “Gorilla Love 3” fundraiser.  Your gifts help Gorilla Doctors save a species, one gorilla at a time.


Special thanks to Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, Ike Zekaria, Alicia Zekaria, Tracey Gluck, Jack Karuletwa, and Tim Campbell for all of their hard work to make Gorilla Love 3 a huge success.