The David Shepherd Winter Wildlife Ball

Arabella Worthington

15 Nov 2018

NWS Arabella rubs shoulders with some big names at this glittering conservation event

Last Friday, I had the honour of attending the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Winter Wildlife Ball, held at the Dorchester. The event played host to over 300 people, including Dame Judi Dench, Liz Bonnin and David Gower.

I was privileged to be invited to such a prestigious event and had my glad rags ready! After some bubbly, we were seated and the night started with a spine-tingling rendition of The Circle of Life by ex-Lion King star, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize. It was truly an incredible start and one wondered how the evening could get any better. Dining on scrumptious food, paired with delicious wine, we learnt more about the foundation’s work from CEO Karen Botha, Head of Programmes and Policy Georgina Lamb (David Shepherd’s granddaughter), and other members of staff.

They truly are doing amazing work in fighting crime, protecting endangered species and working with local communities throughout Africa and Asia. Their work is tireless and they keep persevering against the odds. We learnt about rangers losing their lives to fight wildlife crime, about the continual slaughter of wildlife and how the situation is at a critical stage. I hadn’t realised that 300 pangolins are taken from the wild every day… absolutely shocking.

It wasn’t all negative however, and the ‘Conservation Champion 2018’ was announced. There were five shortlisted candidates and the public voted for Surenkhuu Luvsan from Snow Leopard Trust, a Mongolian activist who has dedicated her life to protecting snow leopards. Runners-up were Eric Enyel (Uganda Conservation Foundation), Lesley Karutjaiva (Save the Rhino Trust) and Mamadi Camara (Chimpanzee Conservation Centre), all of whom deserve recognition for their tireless work in protecting endangered species.

The evening continued with a silent and live auction, led by antiques expert and BBC fixture Charlie Ross. One of the top prizes was spending time with the Painted Dog Conservation team just outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe (something that we can offer), as well as an afternoon tea for two with Joanna Lumley (unfortunately something we can’t offer!). As well as experiences, there was some beautiful artwork, including some of David Shepherd’s original work.

To top off the evening, we danced to MOBO award-winner Jamelia! In total, the event raised over £185,000, which is a tremendous amount and I’m sure every penny will be invested to support endangered species.

If you’d like to have more information on how you can support the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation or would like to support endangered species like lions, leopards, tigers, rhinos, elephants, chimpanzees, pangolins, painted dogs and snow leopards by seeing them in their natural habitat, please do contact us. It is also well worth watching this short video which has more information about the foundation.

Image Credits

Banner image: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Dame Judi Dench and David Mills: Sam Churchill

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Surenkhuu Luvsan: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Charlie Ross: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Bengal tiger: Russell MacLaughlin

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