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Call of the Wild

| August 21, 2012 | Parties National

THE PARTY The San Diego Zoo channeled the land down under for the 29th annual Rendezvous in the Zoo Gala, Zoomerang, benefiting the Conrad Prebys Australian Outback exhibit slated to open next summer. THE SCENE Donning animal prints and primal colors, partygoers began the night with cocktails around the flamingo lagoon. A dazzling laser light show, synchronized with the band, drew guests to dinner underneath a canopy of twinkling lights and against a backdrop of hand-painted murals depicting koalas, kangaroos, emus and other Australian critters. THE HIGHLIGHTS Animal instincts rose as guests excitedly bid on top auction items, from a seven-night African vacation to a James Cameron-led tour of the Avatar 2 set. But it was the cuddly koalas that stole the night, as zookeepers provided up-close encounters with marsupials, birds, reptiles and a cheetah. BEST IN SHOW The gala raised more than $1.5 million for the expansion and the zoo’s koala conservation efforts, which protect the largest koala colony outside of Australia. Photography by Melissa Jacobs


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