NIGHTLIGHT IN LONDON: Safari in the City ZSL London Zoo’s first ever fundraising gala on May 21, 2014 Proves to Be the Hottest Ticket in Town

June 5, 2014

Humanitarian Meera Gandhi at Safari
in the City at ZSL London Zoo

2014 Ram Shergill portrait of Meera Gandhi

Auction of Ram Shergill photograph of Meera Gandhi

Mayor Ken Livingstone, Ram Shergill and Abbie Woodall at
Safari in the City at ZSL London Zoo
Meera and Vikram Gandhi in front of lion logo

Elizabeth Emanuel at Safari in the City, ZSL London Zoo

Rupert and Robin Hambro

Heidi, Asian lioness at ZSL London Zoo

TV Presenter Simon King hosts Safari in the City at ZSL London Zoo

Humanitarian Meera Gandhi, CEO and Founder of The Giving Back Foundation, was Co-chair and joined London’s elite, including fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel, fashion photographer Ram Shergill and former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, at the gala dinner “Safari in the City” held at ZSL London Zoo on Wednesday 21 May 21, 2014.  

This first-ever fundraising gala held by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), launched the charity’s new Lions400 fundraising campaign and raised over £135,000 towards helping to save the magnificent Asian lions. 

According to co-chair Meera Gandhi, “There are only 400 Asian lions left in the entire wild and they are in the Gir Forest of Gujaral, India. The funds raised will be used to restore the Indian habitat for these lions in Gir and also to re-do the lion enclosure at the London Zoo, making it feel like the real 'wild' to enable longer survival of these majestic creatures. Being Indian, I threw myself wholeheartedly into this worthwhile fund-raising event.”

A new photograph of Meera Gandhi, taken by famed photographer Ram Shergill, was auctioned off for the charity to the highest bidder, Kim Robson. 

The famous London landmark was transformed into an Asian-inspired wonderland for the night. Guests were immersed in an Indian themed adventure, arriving to the sound of drums before journeying through the Zoo on tuk tuks, and getting the privilege of visiting animal houses including Tiger Territory, Penguin Beach and the Lion Terraces after hours.  Tables for the gala were snapped up by philanthropists such as Meera Gandhi, eager to help ZSL raise £5.7m to protect and save the Asian lions.   

After dinner, Christie’s auctioneer Georgina Wilsenach encouraged guests to dig deep for lions and bid on incredible lots including artworks by acclaimed artist and Royal AcademicianPhyllida Barlow, and South Africa’s leading artist Keith Joubert. And even a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the last remaining Asian lions in the Gir Forest, India, accompanied by a ZSL conservationist all of which went down a storm with guests. 

The evening was hosted by television presenter and big cat enthusiast Simon King and featured an acoustic performance by Dan Gillespie-Sells of The Feeling.