The Wildlife Conservation Society honored tonight Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation Chelsea Clinton, and WCS Trustee Diane Christensen for their commitments to saving elephants and protecting wildlife and wild places.
Held at the WCS Central Park Zoo, the event—titled “An Elephant’s Tale”—highlighted the conservation plight of elephant populations in the forests and savannas of Africa and efforts to protect them from the illegal ivory trade.
Also attending the event were President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Nearly 600 guests gathered at the gala celebrating the honorees and supporting WCS efforts to save wildlife around the globe. WCS conservationists work in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans, and it annually engages in a conservation movement more than 4 million visitors to its five zoological parks in New York – the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and the New York Aquarium.
“It is a privilege to honor Sec. Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Diane Christensen,” said Dr. Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton are strong allies in helping us build great momentum around the globe to save Africa’s elephants. Diane Christensen has worked with WCS to protect the world’s wildlife for more than a decade. She is a key player on the WCS conservation team.”
Sec. Clinton said: “I am so confident that, with WCS leading the charge, helping to make sure that we have the information about what each and every one of us can do to save the African forest elephant, we will make the right choices.”
For nearly 15 years, Diane Christensen has supported WCS’s efforts to conserve global biodiversity and protect wildlife and wild places. Christensen combines her passion for visual art with wildlife conservation through The Christensen Fund, a private San Francisco-based foundation that supports biological and cultural diversity.
Hillary Rodham Clinton recently served as the 67th Secretary of State of the United States and has worked for nearly four decades as an advocate, attorney, First Lady, and Senator of New York State. Clinton led the fight against wildlife trafficking during her tenure as Secretary of State and has helped galvanize the global community in the efforts to save elephants and other wildlife.
Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, along with her mother, led the formation of the “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action aimed at saving Africa’s elephants. She also visited WCS field sites in Tanzania last year.
In September of 2013, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton participated in the launch of the “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. The partnership is a three-year campaign to bring together NGOs, governments, and concerned citizens in the struggle to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants, a crisis driven largely by the illegal ivory trade. The Wildlife Conservation Society—a CGI partner— participated in this effort in part through the “96 Elephants” campaign to amplify and support the actions of securing effective U.S. moratorium laws, bolstering elephant populations with additional funding, and through a public education effort to highlight the link between ivory consumption and elephant poaching. Currently, WCS is at the forefront in fighting for legislation in New York State to institute a ban on ivory sales. The New York State Assembly took an historic first step to get this ban instituted with passage of a bill on Wednesday.
The honorary chairs of the event were: WCS Trustee Antonia Grumbach and George J. Grumbach, Jr.; and WCS Chair of the Board Ward W. Woods and Priscilla Woods.
Photo credit: (Left to right)WCS Chair of the Board Ward Woods, WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation Chelsea Clinton attending the Wildlife Conservation Society’s annual Gala held on Thursday, June 12th at the Central Park Zoo.