Malibu animal lovers grabbed their pith helmets and finest safari garb on Saturday and headed to the annual Beastly Ball at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Guests decked out like Indiana Jones, sporting leopard, zebra and other exotic animal prints, mingled over cocktails as we waited for our Safari trams for the trek to see the critters great and small.
We munched on mouthwatering Peking duck and were greeted by a squawking, blue throated parrot named Thorn who was trying to converse with the crowds between bites of banana.
“He’s very special,” said his keeper, Lori. “He is five months old and has been hatched at our conservation center. As you can hear, he has an opinion about everything. There are only about 300 left but we’ve helped bring that number up from 75. He loves people and, as you can see, likes to crawl all over me.”
Next, we ran into Emma, who was positively dazzling as one of the many two-legged models in the crowd. She was elaborately dressed as a peacock in full bloom in feathers and sequins, with elaborate golden head gear and handing out sparkling flutes of champagne.
The next turn amid the lush and fragrant foliage featured first class Mexican fare followed by the sounds of an Australian digeridoo. The master musician had five of them, all hand made.
That led to a wide enclosure of kangaroos hopping around like hot pancakes. It’s springtime at the zoo, which means there were plenty of little guys, including a baby ‘roo being carried around in mama’s pouch. With a koala munching above, there were “oohs” and “aahs” and “OMGs” galore. The gray kangas enjoyed their normal healthy meal along with some rose petals as a special treat for dessert. Roses were also a sweet taste for a Tasmanian Devil, whose diet includes peanuts, kale and corn. “It’s quite a smorgasbord,” said his keeper.
We had a chance to revisit Charlie the sloth (who was featured in TMT two years ago) and my, how he’s grown!
As we continued down, we came across gents daring to wear Panama brims, palm frond prints and Bermuda shorts.
Next, we came across Mike the anteater. He usually eats ants and termites but also roses and avocados. The highlight was the South African Pink Flamingos who let us feed them their daily diet of krill while trumpeter swans floated nearby. (Webby and Dewey were enjoying their daily diet of lettuce cups.)
After a spectacular show by acrobats, there was a tender spread of beef bourguignon from Traxx and sushi from Kabuki and a look at a South American porcupine. Then, it was down to the lower level where noted marine biologist Sylvia A. Earle (also featured on a Malibu Times Magazine cover) was being honored. Earle is always a wealth of information on the perils of the planet and what we can do to help. The program concluded with dancing to the Lucky Devils Band and raised big bucks for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo’s conservation programs.