US Bank and Patti & Jack Grundhofer To Be Presenting Sponsors

The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is pleased to announce US Bank and Patti & Jack Grundhofer as presenting sponsors of its 27th annual Zoobilee Gala. Tickets are now available for the safari-themed event to be held at The Living Desert on Sunday, March 20, 2016, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Zoobilee attendees will be treated to a safari-themed evening at The Living Desert, complete with unique experiences such as animal encounters, an African drum performance, and the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind silent auction items.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by dinner and a live auction on the Palm Garden Patio. A special Raise-the-Paddle effort will support the excellent care and well-being of The Living Desert’s animals, as well as the education and conservation programs the zoo and gardens provide. This year’s event also will include a raffle opportunity to win one of the fabulous live auction items.


“Zoobilee is our largest fundraiser of the year and we are excited to once again be hosting the gala on site at The Living Desert,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “We thank US Bank and the Grundhofer’s for their generous contributions as our gala’s presenting sponsors.”

Zoobilee platinum sponsors include the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, Hal & Peggy Bernthal, the A.C. Israel Foundation, Inc. and Harold Matzner. Tickets for The Living Desert’s Zoobilee Gala are $300 per person with table and host sponsorships available. Attendees are encouraged to dress safari casual.

The Zoobilee Gala committee is led by co-chairs Patti & Jack Grundhofer and committee members: Jan Harnik, Suzanne Homme, Dinah Jenkins, Peggy Karcher, Janet Lanterman, JoAnn Nickerson, DeDe Pitruzzelli, Ron and Debbie Schulman, Mary Lou Solomon, Barbara Spencer, Amber Spinello, Chuck Swenson, Bruce Tominello, and Sandy Woodson.

Proceeds from the Zoobilee Gala support The Living Desert’s mission of desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation, and help provide programming such as school field trip scholarships, community outreach and events, as well as exhibit and infrastructure improvements. The funds raised also will support species conservation efforts around the world.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 760-346-5694, ext 2166.



1.20.16 The Living Desert giraffe calf 1Only a few weeks into the new year, The Living Desert’s giraffe, Dadisi, gave birth to a male calf on January 20, 2016, said Allen Monroe, President & CEO of The Living Desert, in Palm Desert, California.

The yet-to-be-named calf, weighing in at 130 pounds and standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, is anticipated to be on exhibit January 29, 2016.

“While we are always excited to announce the birth of new babies here at The Living Desert, it is especially wonderful to welcome our first baby of 2016, a beautiful giraffe calf,” said Monroe. “Both mother and baby are doing well.”

This is the sixth baby for mom, Dadisi, and seventh calf for the father, Hesabu. Dadisi came to The Living Desert in November 2002 from the Oakland Zoo, and all of her calves have been born at The Living Desert. Hesabu, who came from the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2002, also is the father of Ayo, who was born in July 2015 to mother Tuli.

“Both Dadisi and Hesabu were sent to our zoo for breeding, based on Species Survival Plan recommendations,” said Monroe. “The successful breeding and birth of their babies has helped build the population of this endangered species, which is an important and fulfilling part of our mission.”

The Living Desert is currently home to a herd of seven giraffes, five males and two females, all of which are on exhibit in the African section of the Park. In the last 15 years, the population of giraffes in the wild has fallen dramatically by 60% to less than 80,000 animals.

Dadisi’s pregnancy was about 15 months, the typical gestational period for a giraffe. The baby will now nurse for nine to 12 months, and begin eating foliage at about four months. The giraffe will double his size in the first year of his life. The baby giraffe has its own spot-like markings and no two giraffe’s have the same pattern, similar to humans having unique fingerprints.

Visitors can get up-close and personal with these majestic animals by participating in the giraffe feedings from 11 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per person or $4 for members.

The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit