This summer, the French Ambassador to India, Mr. Francois Richier dropped by Wildlife SOS’ rescue facilities in Uttar Pradesh, during a visit to the state. His interaction with the rescued elephants at the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre left him speechless, and he was equally overwhelmed by the heartwarming recovery of the rehabilitated sloth bears at the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, expressing his awe at the amazing work being carried out by the organisation. Mr. Richier left Agra impressed with Wildlife SOS’ efforts at rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in distress in the country, while working closely with indigenous communities that are traditionally dependant on wildlife for their livelihood.
The first-hand experience with the elephants and bears obviously stuck with him, and less than a month later, the Ambassador surprised Wildlife SOS by suggesting a collaboration between the organisation and the embassy. A fundraising dinner was decided upon and months of planning invested into its conception. Things were hectic at Wildlife SOS’ offices- finalising guest lists, liaising with the French consular, sending out invitations and everything being put together for the evening.
The date decided upon was the 09th of October, a Friday, and the embassy walls were lined with a collection of beautiful padhchinhs – footprint artwork created by our rescued elephants in collaboration with Singapore-based artist and longtime supporter of Wildlife SOS, Alpana Ahuja- and pictures of our beautiful rescued animals accompanied by descriptions of our projects spread across the country.
Amidst this, the group of high profile dignitaries attending the dinner interacted with Wildlife SOS’ co-founders, Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, as well as our amazing Board members, Arjun and Reed Nirula. Mr. Nirula, an exceptionally talented artist, presented the Ambassador with a work of art that incorporated the colours of the French flag into an intrinsically detailed sketch of an Asian elephant.
Following a short film about a few of Wildlife SOS’ biggest projects, Mr. Kartick Satyanarayan addressed the guests, telling them about the organisation and expressing his gratitude to them for showing their support to our cause by attending the dinner. A special thanks was extended to the French Ambassador and everyone in attendance, followed by a delicious three course meal.
The entire event was a wonderful experience aimed at garnering support for a good cause, and the evening remained a great success.