ROYAL OAK, Mich., September 12, 2012 – The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) has established a fund to facilitate the rescue of animals with the intent to provide sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo. The Kalter/Lezotte Fund for Wildlife Rescue has been named for Chris Lezotte and DZS board member Alan Kalter in recognition of their substantial lead gift.

The DZS frequently provides sanctuary to exotic animals that are abandoned, surrendered or confiscated. The rescued animals – most of which were kept as exotic pets, lived in circuses or roadside menageries, or were bought and sold by exotic animal dealers – are often in need of immediate rescue. Few places can offer sanctuary.

"This fund will enable us to continue our critical work rescuing and caring for these animals," said DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan. "Alan and Chris have been extraordinary supporters of the Detroit Zoo for many years, and we are grateful for their generous gift and their incredible commitment to our mission of saving animals."

More than one thousand individual mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been rescued by the DZS since 1993. They include: Bärle, a polar bear confiscated from a tropical circus; Hamms, a black bear purportedly used in beer commercials; Mike, Thor and Boo, orphaned grizzly bear cubs from Alaska; injured racehorses Siberian Sun, Trio and Buster; Katie and Percival, lions found guarding urban drug houses, as well as three lions from a junkyard in Kansas; and hundreds of reptiles, amphibians and mammals rescued from an exotic animal dealer in Texas in the largest seizure in U.S. history.

"The DZS has a long and successful history of being at the forefront of wildlife rescue in America. The fund will help to ensure a very long future of providing a better tomorrow for animals in need – a distinctive aspect of the Detroit Zoo's mission of celebrating and saving wildlife," said Kalter.

Kalter, who has served on the DZS board since 1997, was CEO and owner of the Doner advertising agency in Southfield, Mich., until his retirement in 2009. The agency has created award-winning pro bono advertising campaigns for the Detroit Zoo for more than 30 years, including the current "Vitamin Z" campaign. Doner's famous "Zoo Stars" television commercial from the early eighties won the coveted CLIO award and, more recently, the agency's "Worth Keeping" campaign to support the 2008 tri-county millage to keep the Zoo captured the prestigious Gold Effie award. In 2009, the DZS presented Kalter with the Nautilus award, which recognizes individuals who have significantly affected the future of wildlife and nature.

To contribute to the Kalter/Lezotte Fund for Wildlife Rescue, make a check payable to the Detroit Zoological Society and send it to Fund for Wildlife Rescue, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067, or call (248) 336-5704.