When Brownie Troop # 7295 gathered on May 1, 2013 at El Rodeo School for their last meeting of the school year, they received a surprise visit from local veterinarian and Beverly Hills resident, Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria, DVM.
Dr. Nic, as her clients fondly call her, was there to accept a generous donation of $1,000 from their cookie sales that Troop # 7295 was making to the Gorilla Doctors.
As Dr. Nic explained to an unusually quiet group of second grade girls, there are now less than 900 mountain gorillas alive in the wild anywhere in the world. The Gorilla Doctors is an international team of veterinarians dedicated to saving the lives of these critically endangered animals in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are the only group providing these animals – which share 98.5% of their DNA with humans -- with direct, hands-on care in the wild.
Dr. Nic recently trekked into the forest on foot with the Rwanda Gorilla Doctors team and participated in a surgery on one of the animals. She showed the girls pictures of the gorilla families she saw during her unforgettable visit. They also learned about families with children their own age living in the villages surrounding the gorillas’ habitats.
The money that Troop # 7295 donated will go toward treating sick and injured gorillas, including freeing gorillas caught in poachers’ snares, rescuing and providing veterinary care to gorillas orphaned by poachers and supporting health programs for people and their animals that live near the gorillas’ habitats.
For their generous donation, each of the 20 second grade girls received a unique gorilla patch from Dr. Nic to sew on their sashes:
On November 4, 2013, Dr. Lara Nicolayevsky Zekaria will be hosting the first west coast fundraiser for Gorilla Doctors at the ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills. The 6pm cocktail reception will include a silent auction of adventure travel packages and African artifacts, an exhibit and sale of photographs of the mountain gorillas, and a live auction, with Jack Hanna serving as the event’s honorary chair. To make a donation to help support this event, please go to www.gorilladoctors.org and look for the orange "donate to this event" button on the home page. For tickets and underwriting information, please contact Lisa Bochner at 310.717.2754.