Malibu Seen: Wild Things

Malibu Seen gets up close and personal with a sleepy sloth at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s 46th annual Beastly Ball.

Herds of Malibu animal lovers put on their safari best and headed for the Los Angeles Zoo for the 46th annual Beastly Ball last month. The event is always a blast, and from eco-actor Ed Begley Jr. to a scaly Komoto dragon or an adorable giraffe baby, you never know what kind of party animals you are going to meet. Our first encounter was with “Trucker the Tortoise,” and Trucker was sure trucking along — but what else would you expect from an elegant and spry 46-year-old? “Isn’t that old?” I inquired. “Oh no, not at all,” one of his handlers responded. “They are amazing and they can get to be 85 — or older!”

I soon met up with a cuddly sloth and some prickly exotic creatures. Needless to say, there’s always some excitement around the bend. 

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s annual Beastly Ball is special indeed. Guests are invited to view the critters at feeding time and after dark. Their handlers are happy to get you up to speed on all things related to anything on four or two feet — anything with a beak, a trunk or super-sharp teeth.

Decked out in leopard prints, pith helmets and cargo pants, Malibu residents like Erika Aronson and Renee and Ed Weitzer went all out. Neighbors, including Rachel, Jeff and Rebecca Witjas, joined them.

They were among more than 700 special guests who partied under the stars and celebrated the zoo’s essential mission. While the animals enjoyed their feeding time, safari goers got an earful of world music and some treats of their own. It was like eating your way across the world, from succulent sushi to El Cholo’s corn tamales to everybody’s favorite: Pink’s chili cheese dog. 

Live auction items included a fab sports package, “Elephants of Asia Overnight Adventure” and a “Bring the Zoo to Your School” event. 

The roaring crowd also celebrated and honored wildlife supporters/long-time GLAZA donors Patricia and Stanley Silver while bestowing the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award on actor/environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.  In the crowd were GLAZA Co-Chairs Betty White and Richard Lichtenstein; rock icon Slash, a GLAZA Trustee; GLAZA President Connie Morgan; L.A. Zoo Director John Lewis; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff; L.A. City Council Members David Ryu, Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez; L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin; and actors Jane Leeves, Sharon Lawrence, Julie Lake, Carolyn Hennesy, Charlie Koontz, Jax Malcolm, Chloe Noelle — and more.  The event raised $1.1 million. Now that’s a G-R-R-R-Reat time!