NEW YORK– June 8, 2017 – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) held its annual gala at Central Park Zoo where more than 500 guests attended in support of WCS’s mission to save big cats and other wildlife across the globe. This year’s gala, themed Big Cats, honored Julian Robertson and George Schaller for their lifetime commitments and significant contributions to conservation.

Said WCS Chair Antonia Grumbach: “With the support and leadership of figures like Julian Robertson and George Schaller – who we honor this evening -- WCS has played a critical role at its zoos and in the field raising awareness of threats to these magnificent animals while reversing their decline.”

Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO, said: “Tonight, we honor two leaders – Julian Robertson and George Schaller -- who have left an indelible mark on big cat conservation. The work of Julian and George that we have recognized tonight speaks to their extraordinary leadership and to the important role WCS has played in conservation over the course of its 122-year history.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society has more staff and works in more locations than any other organization on big cat conservation.

Said Samper: “Our effectiveness derives from our ability to lead with science and a proper awe of the challenges we face. For our choices today will determine whether we may continue to live on a planet where tigers and lions roam the wild.”

About the Honorees:

Julian Robertson is the legendary founder of the hedge fund, Tiger Management. He has long focused on environmental causes, bringing attention to threats to iconic species and climate change. Robertson’s dedication to tiger conservation has helped these majestic creatures prosper in the wild. He supported the creation of Tiger Mountain at WCS’s Bronx Zoo which has introduced millions to the wonders of big cats.

George Schaller is globally renowned as a leader in wildlife research and conservation. He has traveled the globe since the 1950s in association with WCS, conducting landmark studies that have deepened humanity’s understanding of a multitude of species including lions, snow leopards, tigers, and jaguars. Schaller’s work on big cats has shaped wildlife protection efforts around the world and inspired a new generation of conservationists.

Since WCS’s founding more than 120 years ago, WCS has set the standard for science, conservation action, and education and is committed to a mission to protect wildlife and wild places. 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 landscapes. WCS runs the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and New York Aquarium and runs conservation field programs in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans.

About the Gala:

During one of New York’s premiere social events of the season, gala guests enjoyed a cocktail reception around the sea lion pool featuring big cat-themed décor by Lewis Miller Designs followed by a seated dinner prepared by Peter Callahan Catering. Dancing continued under the stars with music by DJ Luther Riggs at the popular afterparty, WCS After Dark, which brings together the next generation of conservation supporters.