Gorilla Love II at Hinoki & the Bird RestaurantBy Gorilla Doctors Staff on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 in Blog.
by Michael Morales
Gorilla Love 2 got underway Thursday evening, greeting guests with six larger than life photos hanging outside Hinoki & the Bird restaurant in Los Angeles. Displaying the majestic beauty of the mountain gorillas and the important work Gorilla Doctors veterinarians do in the field daily, guests of Gorilla Love 2 knew they were in for an important evening.
The fundraiser, chaired by Gorilla Doctors Board Member Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, is the second of its kind for Gorilla Doctors. The evening featured gorilla-themed drinks, hor d’oeuvres including lobster rolls and chili crab toast, a silent and live auction, and speeches from the Directors of Gorilla Doctors, Drs. Mike Cranfield and Kirsten Gilardi, who told the crowd “we know what we do is really, really important and its saving the species. Just this past summer we had 33 clinical interventions to take care of injured and ill gorillas.” Many Gorilla Doctors Board Members were also in attendance at Gorilla Love II, including President Billie Grieb, Jack Karuletwa, and Michael Hailaiko (pictured below).
Donors at the special evening got the chance to bid on once-in-a-lifetime auction items including a nine-day safari to the Maasai Mara and to Rwanda, where the winner will meet the Gorilla Doctors themselves. Dr. Mike Cranfield even offered the lucky winner a chance to personally see mountain gorillas in the wild on a gorilla trek experience. Also up for a bid was a trip to New York on Delta One, a three-night stay at the Parker Meridien, and a trip to the Bronx Zoo to visit the two families of lowland gorillas, which include four new babies.
While Gorilla Love 2 guests mingled and enjoyed drinks like the Sexy Silverback and the Mighty Virunga, they were able to bid on original artwork and photography that was on display on the covered patio at Hinoki & the Bird. Gorilla diamond earrings and necklaces tantalized the ladies in attendance, while gentlemen gazed over the elegant gorilla cufflinks. “Coyote Ugly” and “Chicago Fire” actress Izabella Miko tweeted about the night:
Also in attendance, Bravo TV’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger. Her Bravo colleague, talk show host Andy Cohen even donated to Gorilla Doctors a pair of VIP tickets & pre show drinks to his show “Watch What Happens Live” in NYC.
Other big draws during the auction include a five-foot original drawing “Keeper of Secrets”, by Anne London, a wine country getaway for five nights in France, handmade African masks and a South African “Wilderness & Wine” trip that takes the winner to the Ulusaba Private Game Reserve and Monte Rochelle Hotel and Vineyard.
A live auctioneer helped garner $25,000 in donations alone, before the auctions, an amount that was immediately matched by the Houston Zoo. All attendees were treated to gift bags as they exited for the evening, but more importantly, everyone left with a sense of accomplishment raising over $100,000 that will be essential for the ongoing work of Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Money that will be used for medical supplies, field interventions to rescue gorillas trapped in snares, or suffering from life-threatening illness. From the Senkwekwe Center in DRC – the only place on Earth where orphaned mountain gorillas are living in captivity – to the volcanoes of the Virunga Massif, the funds raised at Gorilla Love 2 will help carry out the essential work of the field veterinarians of Gorilla Doctors.
The Gorilla Doctors team would like to thank Board Member and Committee Chair Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, as well as Event Committee Members Tim Campbell, Tracey Gluck, Jack Karuletwa, and Elizabeth Warber for all of their hard work to make Gorilla Love 2 a wonderful success!**