Beverly Hills rolled out the green carpet for the Gorilla Doctors of Africa on Monday, November 4th. Three hundred wildlife enthusiasts and adventure travelers turned out to show their “Gorilla Love” at the prestigious ACE Gallery. This was the first major west coast fundraiser for the Gorilla Doctors, and without a doubt, was deemed a smashing success by all in attendance.

The Gorilla Doctors logo lit up the sidewalk in Beverly Hills.

Celebrities Sharon Stone, Kristen Bell, Jane Seymour, Dax Shepherd, Lisa Rinna, and Rochelle Aytes mingled with the Gorilla Love guests and threw their support behind the veterinarian’s life saving work in Africa. Jack Hanna, who also serves on the Gorilla Doctors board, was the Honorary Chair for the evening. Due to a scheduling conflict, he was unable to attend in person, but generously recorded a welcome message and introduction prior to the fundraiser.

Jack Hanna, who was unable to attend in person, addresses the crowd via a prerecorded video for the evening.

Planning for this glitzy event took the better part of 2013, but thanks to the hard work of event producer Lisa Bochner, Committee Chair and fellow veterinarian Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, and committee members Tim Campbell, Tracey Gluck, Jack Karuletwa, Elizabeth Warber and Suzanne Greenberg, a record breaking number was raised to support the Gorilla Doctors work.

Gorilla Doctors Directors Dr. Mike Cranfield (left) and Dr. Kirsten Gilardi (right) with event planner Lisa Bochner.

Early in the evening, guests began to gather in the large, contemporary gallery space. The gorilla enthusiasts sipped on the signature cocktail of the evening, a “silverbacktini” and bid on silent auction items, like stunning fine art gorilla photography, African sculptures, exclusive wines, among other treats. Magestic gorillas stared out at the audience from the massive cloth banners draping the walls and two glowing bars flanked the space.

Guests at Gorilla Love – Beverly HillsPhotos of the Gorilla Doctors patients were sold in a silent auction.

Gorilla Doctors Communications Officer Jessica Burbridge with actress Sharon Stone at Gorilla Love.Gorilla Love attendees bid on the silent auction photographs and other exclusive items.

Actress and animal-lover Kristen Bell was the host for the evening and she was as warm and charming as ever. “I’m so excited to be here to support the Gorilla Doctors” said Bell. “These brave men and women deserve all of the recognition and financial support we can get them”. Actress Kristen Bell hosted the Gorilla Love fundraiser.

After giving guests a warm welcome, Bell introduced Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, a Beverly Hills veterinarian and mastermind behind Gorilla Love. Dr. Nic, as her clients fondly call her, met the Gorilla Doctors during a recent trip to Rwanda. After trekking to see the gorillas and participating in a surgery alongside the veterinarians, she was so impressed with the work being done by the organization, she wanted to help garner support and raise funds. Dr. Nic has worked tirelessly throughout the last six months to make the first annual Gorilla Love fundraiser a success. And her hard work paid off in spades.

Dr. Nic speaks to the Gorilla Love crowd.

Next, Directors Drs. Kirsten Gilardi and Mike Cranfield spoke about the Gorilla Doctors work and treated event guests to a rare presentation: a never-before-seen video of a medical intervention to free a young mountain gorilla from a poacher’s snare in Volcanoes National Park’s Agashya family. The intervention was conducted by a team of Gorilla Doctors veterinarians in the gorillas’ dense forested habitat in the Virunga Massif Volcanoes.

Gorilla Doctors directors Drs. Mike Cranfield & Kirsten GilardiGorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike CranfieldGorilla Doctors directors Drs. Kirsten Gilardi and Mike Cranfield 

Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell listen to Dr. Mike & Kirsten’s talk.

The event wrapped with an exciting live auction, led by actress Sharon Stone, of two luxury safaris in South Africa courtesy of Virgin Mobile, a tour of the Los Angeles Zoo led personally by Betty White, and, the highlight of the evening: a Rwanda Adventure Safari to trek with the chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Forest and the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park.

Sharon Stone works the crowd in the live auction for Gorilla Love.

Sharon Stone speaks to the Gorilla Love crowd.Sharon Stone raises money for Gorilla Doctors in the live auction. 

Sharon Stone encourages a supporter to give more in the live auction.

Sharon Stone, Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike Cranfield, event planner Lisa Bochner, Gorilla Love committee: Elizabeth Warber, Tracey Gluck, Lara Zekaria, Tim Campbell, Jack Karuletwa, Gorilla Doctors Communications Officer Jess Burbridge, Host Kristen Bell, Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Kirsten Gilardi

Additional photos from the Gorilla Love event can be viewed on the Gorilla Doctors Pinterest page.

Join the Gorilla Love guests and give to support our Gorilla Doctors in their life-saving work.

If you would like to be apart of Gorilla Love 2014 in any capacity, please contact 

Justin Cox, Director of Marketing and Communications or +13364032065