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Black Tie International:
The Wildlife Conservation Society 2016 Gala
Photos by:  Rose Billings/
Jim Breheney, Antonia Grumbach, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Mrs Ban  Soon-Taek, Christian Samper and Adriana Casas.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

Jim Breheney, Antonia Grumbach, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Mrs Ban  Soon-Taek, WCS President and CEO, Christian Samper and Adriana Casas










“As a global community we face a critical dilemma that can no longer be pushed off to future generations….If our planet is to sustain us, then we must sustain our planet.”

– WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper


Lucy Liu.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Lucy Liu
 Katie Lee and Bobby Flay.  Photo y:  Rose Billings/
 Katie Lee and Bobby Flay
Kenneth Langone and Elaine Langone.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Kenneth Langone and Elaine Langone
Robert Zimmerman.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/
Robert Zimmerman


NEW YORK– June 9, 2016 – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) honored Sir David Attenborough and The Walt Disney Company at its annual Gala 2016: We Stand for WildlifeSM for their commitment to protecting the incredible wildlife of the natural world.

Guests came together at WCS’s historic Central Park Zoo to celebrate WCS’s 120-year commitment to advance wildlife conservation. The evening began with a cocktail reception around the sea lion pool featuring life-size, animal cut-outs and a walking oyster bar, followed by dinner and dancing under the stars. Notable attendees included: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Lucy Liu, Katie Lee, and Bobby Flay. Sponsors included Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic
and La Perla.

The gala program featured remarks by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper, who  spoke about WCS’s mission to save wildlife and wild places around the world. To achieve its mission, WCS harnesses the power of its zoological parks in New York City (the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo) with its conservation field programs in nearly 60 nations and all the world’s oceans.

Said Samper: “As a global community we face a critical dilemma that can no longer be pushed off to future generations. If our planet is to sustain us, then we must sustain our planet.

“As human beings, we connect to nature with a force as strong as the pull of gravity. We depend on nature. Zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, national parks, the conservation movement—indeed, the Wildlife Conservation Society—were all created with a desire to maintain and strengthen that connection. WCS upholds its historic focus on the protection of wildlife while developing an ambitious plan to engage with a rapidly changing world. Nature replenishes our souls but the moment we take the persistence of wild places for granted, they may begin to perish. We stand as an organization to make sure that will not happen.”

UN Sec. General Ban Ki-moon said: "The Wildlife Conservation Society has significantly helped advance wildlife conservation with governments around the world. New York would not be New York without the Bronx Zoo. The Wildlife Conservation Society has significantly helped advance wildlife conservation with governments around the world. I would like to honor WCS, Sir David and Disney for their passionate advocacy for wildlife conservation.”

Sir David said in a video:

“WCS is one of the most foremost, impressive organizations working to save the world's wildlife. There could be no greater award than one that came from you.” 

The Walt Disney Company was honored for its longstanding collaboration with WCS that spans more than seven decades. Disney’s relationship with WCS began when Walt Disney visited what was then the New York Zoological Society to seek advice on the development of Disney’s “True-Life Adventures” films. Since then, Disney and WCS have worked together to protect wildlife and ecosystems around the world by allocating funds, and working with in-the-field scientists to advocate for important issues that protect the world’s most endangered species. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund, a key pillar in Disney’s efforts to protect the planet and connect kids with nature, which has provided more than $3 million in grants to support WCS’s field conservation projects.

“Disney applauds the Wildlife Conservation Society as a leader in conservation action, education and innovation, and we are immensely proud of the impact that our collaborative efforts have produced in more than 40 countries over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Environment and Conservation, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company. “The Wildlife Conservation Society’s 2020 strategy maintains a significant focus on the protection of species, a shared value of the Disney Conservation Fund, and together we hold ourselves to the highest standard of preserving the planet while inspiring lifelong conservation values in kids and families.”

Additionally, the evening spotlighted Sir David Attenborough for devoting his life’s work to celebrating and protecting the natural world. Attenborough’s efforts began more than 50 years ago with the launch of his famous Zoo Quest series, just one of many milestones in his career. Attenborough is credited with transforming nature documentaries which introduced cutting-edge filming techniques and brought a new understanding and appreciation for wildlife into the homes of millions worldwide.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society is operating around the world doing marvelous work, so there is no honor that I could appreciate more greatly,” said Sir David Attenborough.

The event proceeds go to support WCS’s work to save wildlife and wild places worldwide. WCS runs the world’s largest field programs for great ape, elephant, and tiger conservation and protects many of the world’s most threatened terrestrial and marine areas with a concentrated focus on six species: elephants, apes, big cats, sharks & rays, whales & dolphins, and tortoises & freshwater turtles. WCS inspires citizens, local communities, and governments to advocate to protect our Earth and instill a shared respect for nature starting now and for generations to come.


About Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. For more information, visit:, Follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter @WCSNewsroom, and For more information: 347-840-1242.


NOTABLE ATTENDEES: UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Lucy Liu (actress), Bobby Flay (Chef & Restaurateur), Katie Lee (Chef & Author), Cristián Samper (WCS President and CEO), Dr. Beth Stevens (Disney Senior Vice President of Environment and Conservation), Jim Breheny (WCS EVP of Zoos and Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo),  Antonia Grumbach (WCS Chair), Kitty and Stephen Sherrill (co-chairs), Barbara and Donald Zucker (co-chairs), Gillian Hearst-Simonds and Christian Simonds (co-chairs), Shafi Roepers (co-chair), Leonard Stern (co-chair), Melanie and John Wambold (co-chairs), Harry Crosby, Caroline Hirsch, Ted and Connie Roosevelt, Margo Nederlander, Alecta Hill, Boo Grace, Elizabeth Vargas (Anchor, ABC News)



WCS: We Stand for Wildlife (1:37)


David Attenborough Award Acceptance (3:14)


WCS-Disney Partnership (1:00)




Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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