Beverley Hills, 22 October 2016 – Saturday night, at the Beverley Hilton, Host and French Reporter Jackie Watson was in her element and meeting some of her heroes in the fight against animal cruelty and the preservation of wild animal populations around the globe at the Annual Benefit Gala for Last Chance for Animals.
The Last Chance for Animals is a non-profit fighting machine for the rights of animals, started and spearheaded by Chris DeRose – the former actor who turned his back on the bright lights to delve into the dark underworld that is animal exploitation. In the founders own words, Last Chance for Animals is “primarily an investigatory organization; we investigate things, we expose them, we get people prosecuted, we change laws. We try to get to the core of a problem. So we put the biggest class-B dealers in the country in state prison, federal prison, have their license permanently revoked, the heaviest fines go into millions of dollars being taken from them, so we’ve been very successful at what we do.”
This year’s event was centered on the plight of Africa’s Virunga National Park and its critically endangered mountain gorilla population, and honoured Prince Emmanuel de Merode (Director of Virunga National Park) and Anthony Caere (Head of Virunga Air Unit) with the Albert Scheitzer Award for “defending the 2-million-acre park and its inhabitants from poachers, militants, and environmental exploitation. Part of their work includes protecting a third of the 900 mountain gorillas that remain in the wild.”
Also on the Last Chance for Animals red carpet was Philanthropist of the Year, Cindy Landon, saying: “Last Chance is a phenomenal organization, founded by Chris DeRose, who’s been doing animal activism work for over 37 years. He’s just an extraordinary man and he does a lot of work and tonight is a really important night for the Congo in Africa.”
Katy Cleary highlighted some of the many problems facing African wildlife: “It’s really heartbreaking, we highlight these issues every day on World Animal News, and to be honest, a lot of these animals are going extinct. So in the next five years there is a choice that we all have to make; it’s either the big five are gonna go extinct or we’re gonna go extinct. There’s less than 350,000 elephants left in the wild; 100,000 elephants get killed every single year. There is only like 7,000 Rhinos left – the Eastern (Black) Rhino went extinct last year. There’s less than 750 Mountain Gorillas left, and literally it is crucial that we do this now.”
Stephanie Corneliussen summed up the situation so poignantly, saying: “The great African elephant, as it looks now, is about to be extinct within a decade. And imagine that, growing up and trying to explain to your children that Dumbo doesn’t exist anymore.”
Last chance for Animals is the voice of the voiceless, the animals. According to its mission statement “it promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle and the ascription of rights to non-human beings.” If you would like to donate to this extraordinary organization, or become involved yourself, please visit www.lcanimals.org for more information. Remember, a glass is filled with lots of little drops too.
Written by: Miquette Caalsen