Run held at Bronx Zoo in support of lion conservation

April 28, 2012 2:18:43 PM PDT
More than 5,200 ran, jogged, and walked through the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo Saturday in support of lion conservation, at the fourth annual WCS Run for the Wild.

The race is a 5K event to raise money to save lions, their habitats, and other wildlife.

The first to cross the finish line was Chris Johnstone of Brooklyn, who finished with a time of 16:20.

Finishing first among women was Fiona Bayly from Manhattan, with a time of 17:40.

This year's top fundraiser was Alex Carr from Staten Island who raised more than $7,200 which was matched by a donation from The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show.

Participants were encouraged to seek donations and received prizes for their efforts. For $30 in pledges, runners earned a WCS Run for the Wild T-shirt; $60 earned a plush lion; $125 earned a water bottle; $275 earned a Jackrabbit Sports gift card and a New York Yankees cap; $600 earned a gym bag; $1500 earned a breakfast and a special Bronx Zoo animal experience.

"The WCS Run for the Wild has become a favorite of New Yorkers, and many have been participating annually since the beginning," said John F. Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs.

"We are excited by another tremendous turn-out of runners, walkers, families, and wildlife enthusiasts, all of which are doing their part to help save lions and other wildlife."

The Wildlife Conservation Society works across Africa and in the native range of lions in places such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, and Nigeria's Yankari National Park.

Of the 30,000 lions remaining in Africa, nearly half of them are in Tanzania and only 2,000 lions remain in Kenya.

Kenya is losing 100 lions ? 5 percent of the population ? every year due to habitat loss and human conflict.

WCS educates local people about how to live with lions and teaches ranchers techniques that keep cattle and lions away from each other.

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