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Jim Breheny

WCS Executive Vice President & General Director, Zoos & Aquarium & the Jonathan Little Cohen Director of the Bronx Zoo

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Festivities Begin 6:30 PM

Central Park Zoo
Fifth Avenue at 64th Street

Cocktail Attire

Online sales are now closed. For information about purchasing tables or tickets please email


On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) will host its annual Gala at the Central Park Zoo. The evening will celebrate WCS’s impact on the planet’s most ecologically important wild places and the extraordinary species that call them home. Unlike any other event in New York City, the Gala takes place outdoors within a spectacular zoo setting under the stars.


WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. We envision a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.

WCS is the only organization that combines on-the-ground field conservation programs in more than 50 countries with the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks: our flagship Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium. This year marks the 125th anniversary of WCS’s Bronx Zoo. Since opening its doors in 1899, it has become a cultural icon, a conservation giant, and a gateway to nature, learning, and quality family time for hundreds of millions of people. Building on the Bronx Zoo’s unparalleled influence, our goal is to turn a generation of zoogoers into conservation advocates.

We stand for wildlife. Stand with us.

Slide 1
Honoring an Important Milestone
This year, WCS is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Bronx Zoo. From the launch of our groundbreaking African Plains exhibit in the 1940s, to the opening of our latest exhibit, Budgie Landing, we are constantly innovating to connect guests with the natural world and inspire the next generation of conservationists.
Slide 1
Connecting People to Wildlife
WCS’s New York City wildlife parks promote lifelong connections between people and nature while advancing conservation of species in the wild. Our four zoos—the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo—and our New York Aquarium comprise the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks and welcome more than 3 million guests a year.
Slide 1
Welcoming Two “Ghosts of the Mountains”
The Bronx Zoo recently celebrated the arrival of two new snow leopard cubs, who were born at the zoo’s Himalayan Highlands exhibit. WCS’s Bronx Zoo is a world leader in snow leopard care. Building on our long history of wild snow leopard research and conservation, WCS has successfully protected snow leopards and their prey in Afghanistan since 2006, in partnership with local communities and the Afghan National Environmental Protection Agency.
Slide 1
Heralding a New Era at the New York Aquarium
The New York Aquarium has transformed, with several brand new exhibits opened in the last few years: Sea Change, which focuses on how our changing climate affects marine ecosystems; Playquarium, our first bilingual exhibit; Spineless, where visitors connect with jellyfish and other invertebrates; and Donald Zucker and Barbara Hrbek Zucker Ocean Wonders: Sharks! which connects New Yorkers to the local seascape like never before.
Slide 1
Reaching New Audiences
While our New York City parks welcome millions each year, Animal Planet’s award-winning docuseries THE ZOO has given millions more around the world an incredible, behind-the-scenes look at how our expert staff care for the over 20,000 animals at our parks, while helping to advance the conservation of species in the wild.
Slide 1
Saving At-Risk Species
As the world’s premier wildlife conservation organization, WCS has more than a century of success saving endangered species. Stable and recovering animal populations and reductions in poaching in the landscapes and seascapes we protect, as well as stronger international wildlife protections, all demonstrate that our efforts are effective.
Slide 1
A Legacy of Successful Conservation
As the first zoological organization in the world to promote wildlife conservation, WCS’s Bronx Zoo helped save bison from extinction more than a century ago. Today, we are working to restore free-ranging bison populations across their historic North American range through partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, accredited zoos, and others.
Slide 1
Protecting Nature’s Strongholds
Nature’s Strongholds are areas on land and at sea that are high in ecological value and integrity—and they are our best hope for ensuring the health and survival of animals and people. WCS has helped create more than 350 protected areas across land and sea, and we are scaling up efforts to make sure Earth’s most important strongholds for biodiversity are equipped to withstand escalating pressures.
Slide 1
Advancing Nature-Based Climate Solutions
Forests are massive carbon sinks for the planet, keeping billions of tons of planet-warming CO2 out of the atmosphere. Nature-based solutions like protecting forests can provide nearly one-third of the action we need by 2030 to maintain the fight against climate change. WCS has a robust strategy to protect high-integrity forests, peatlands, and grasslands around the world.
Slide 1
Safeguarding Our Ocean
The ocean provides half of our atmosphere’s oxygen, feeds over a billion people, and facilitates 90 percent of global trade. But today, overfishing and the loss of top ocean predators threaten local communities, global economies, and human survival. WCS’s marine program covers the waters of 26 countries, and we have supported over 60 new and expanded marine protected areas since 2016, helping to safeguard coral reefs, reverse the decline of sharks and rays, and steward the recovery of marine mammals. WCS’s goal is to secure 500,000 square kilometers of new protected areas in coastal seas by 2030.
Slide 1
Partnering with Communities on Win-Win Solutions
Around the world, WCS collaborates with over 200 Indigenous community partners and more than 2,000 local community partners to protect high-integrity landscapes and advance recognition of local people to steward their lands and waters. In Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park for example, we found that coffee farming methods had been harming forests. In response, we forged a partnership of local farmers, coffee-buying companies, governments, and others to support farmers’ transition to deforestation-free production that has improved livelihoods and forest health.
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Jim Breheny
WCS Executive Vice President & General Director, Zoos & Aquarium & the Jonathan Little Cohen Director of the Bronx Zoo

Jim leads WCS’s four zoos and aquarium, which collectively house over 20,000 animals representing more than 1,550 species—the largest coordinated collection of animals in the world. He has been with WCS for over 50 years.

Over the course of his distinguished career, Jim has connected WCS’s zoo- and field-based conservation work, leading reintroduction programs for species at the brink of extinction ranging from Kihansi spray toads to American bison. He has also overseen the opening of many exhibits that introduce visitors to our field conservation work, including Madagascar! at the Bronx Zoo and Donald Zucker and Barbara Hrbek Zucker Ocean Wonders: Sharks! at the New York Aquarium.  

Jim has a long record of contributions to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), including serving as Chair of the Board of Directors. He also championed the successful effort to increase AZA member financial support to field conservation programs: AZA members currently contribute over $250 million annually to global conservation efforts. Jim has served on the boards of numerous other conservation organizations.

One of Jim’s greatest contributions to the zoo and aquarium community is the docuseries THE ZOO, which aired for five seasons on Animal Planet and appeared in over 200 markets around the world. At a time when the public perception of zoos had declined, THE ZOO took millions of viewers behind the scenes and told the story of how we care for animals, changing the public’s view of not only the Bronx Zoo, but zoos and aquariums around the world.



Elizabeth and Lee Ainslie
Wallis Annenberg
Judy and Jamie Dimon
Katie and Peter Dolan
Ingrid and Thomas Edelman
Linda and Paul Gould
Laura and Peter Grauer
Antonia and George Grumbach
Diane and Andreas Halvorsen
Judith Hamilton
John and Jeanet Irwin on behalf of Hillside Capital Incorporated
Tony and Amie James
Terry and Bob Lindsay
Helen and Gene McGrath
Howdy Phipps
Alejandro and Charlotte Santo Domingo
Kitty and Stephen Sherrill
Loretta and Chris Stadler
Allison and Leonard Stern
Ann and Andrew Tisch
Priscilla and Ward Woods
Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang
Don and Barbara Zucker


Robert G. Menzi
Interim President and CEO

Alejandro Santo Domingo

Thomas J. Edelman

Hamilton E. James
Vice Chair

Elizabeth Ainslie

Elected Trustees

Elizabeth Ainslie
Neil Barr
Rosina M. Bierbaum
Duncan A. Chapman
Katherine L. Dolan
Thomas J. Edelman
Christopher J. Elliman
Paul A. Gould
Peter T. Grauer
Jonathan D. Green
Antonia M. Grumbach
O. Andreas Halvorsen
Judith H. Hamilton
Jan Hatzius
John N. Irwin III
Hamilton E. James

Trevor Kempner
Julia Marton-Lefèvre
Ambrose K. Monell
Adebayo O. Ogunlesi
Alejandro Santo Domingo
Juan Manuel Santos
David B “Scott” Schiff
Walter C. Sedgwick
Katherine Sherrill
Caroline N. Sidnam
Loretta M. Stadler
Andrew H. Tisch
Marcel van Poecke
Akiko Yamazaki
Robert B. Zoellick

Life Trustees

C. Diane Christensen
Howard Phipps, Jr., Chair Emeritus
David T Schiff, Chair Emeritus
Mrs. Leonard N. Stern
Ward W. Woods, Chair Emeritus
Barbara Hrbek Zucker

Trustees Emeriti

Frederick W. Beinecke
Eleanor Briggs
Jonathan L. Cohen
Gordon E. Dyal
Bradley L. Goldberg
Brian J. Heidtke

Tables & Tickets

Online sales are now closed. For information about purchasing tables or tickets please email

Tables & Tickets

$2,250 of each Gala Table at the $10,000 level and above is non-deductible.
$225 of each seat at a $5,000 Guardian Gala Table is non-deductible.

$225 of each $1,500 Supporter Ticket is non-deductible.
Contributions are tax-deductible as provided by law.

Under federal tax rules, certain restrictions apply to the purchase of gala tickets and tables by donor-advised funds (DAFs) and private foundations.
Please contact your tax advisor or your DAF’s sponsoring organization for more details.

Please Note: Persons attending the Gala may be photographed or filmed at times throughout the event and the recordings may be distributed.

COVID-19 Warning: An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By visiting WCS’s facilities, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. If you are sick, or have possible symptoms, please stay home and take time to recover.


For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Benham
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10460
Phone: 718 741 1616

Learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Society

Explore our History: 125 years of the Bronx Zoo

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.

Photo Credits: ©Thomas Marent/Minden Pictures; Julie Larsen © WCS; © Seth Brogan; © Scott Ramsay/WCS; © Marcos Amend/WCS; © Mailen Palma; © WCS Indonesia; © Sue Chin/WCS; © BFA; Patrick McMullan/PMc. ©Patrick McMullan; Jillian Nelson/; © InFocusNYC

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