Education is an important part of helping to preserve Earth’s most precious resources. By supporting zoos like Zoo Atlanta, we’re helping the public learn about endangered species and habitats.
Willie B., a six-foot-tall, 430-pound western lowland gorilla, lived peacefully for over ten years in a lovely home: the Ford African Rain Forest at Zoo Atlanta.
While Willie B. is gone, his legacy lives on. His home, which until about 22 years ago was considered one of the nation’s 10 worst zoos, now ranks among the best and most innovative—thanks in part to millions of dollars in funding we provided.
Willie B.’s offspring, Kudzoo, Kidogo, Olympia, Sukari and Lulu, will help to maintain the endangered species. In fact, the legacy of Willie B. came full circle last spring when his first offspring, Kudzoo, became a mother.
Visitors Learn About Preservation
Today, families from all over the world visit Zoo Atlanta, where they learn the importance of preserving tropical rain forests and endangered species in the Ford African Rain Forest, a naturalistic habitat designed to simulate the gorilla’s native Africa.
The Ford African Rain Forest is home to 23 gorillas, including Willie B.’s five offspring and his grandchildren, Ivan the gorilla, and six gorillas from the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University. And the first twin gorillas to be successfully mother-reared in captivity are thriving in the Ford African Rain Forest.
In 2000, the Zoo rededicated the Ford Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center, a state-of-the-art interactive exhibit within the Ford African Rain Forest, refurbished with Ford funding. We also sponsor the Ford Pavilion event facility and the Ford Conservation Conference Center.
Helping Raise Funds
Our commitment to Zoo Atlanta extends well beyond the Ford African Rain Forest. Since 1985, we have been the continuing sponsor of Zoo Atlanta’s Beastly Feast fundraiser, a black-tie gala event.
The Beastly Feast has raised more than $1 million annually for Zoo Atlanta during the last 9 years. In fact, the Beastly Feast raises more money than any other fundraising party in Georgia and is the second most successful party in the zoo industry. The 2006 gala broke a fundraising record, generating $1.3 million to aid the zoo’s mission of education and conservation.
The Ford Family Supports Zoo Atlanta
In addition to our support, the support of our dealers has been critical to the success of the prestigious Beastly Feast event. Since we began sponsoring the event, metro Atlanta Ford dealers and the Atlanta Lincoln and Mercury dealers have supported the Beastly Feast through table purchases and the donation of vehicles to the event’s live auction, silent auction and raffle.
Ford’s Community Relations Committee is also a constant Zoo Atlanta supporter through generous donations and Beastly Feast table purchases.
For more information about the Willie B. memorial site, visit the Zoo Atlanta website.