By Claudienne Peterson
MADAME ESTATE--Animal lover, activist, educator, entrepreneur, public speaker and actor Lamman Rucker arrived on-island yesterday with his main purpose to help Save our Zoo.
Best known for his roles in Hollywood hits such as "Why Did I Get Married 1 and 2," "Black Coffee" and "The Man in 3B," Rucker wasted no time. He went from the airport straight to the Zoo, stopping only for lunch at Taloula Mango's, to hold a press conference along with the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Foundation board.
Rucker addressed the importance of the Zoo's role in the community and spoke of his own love for animals, the plant kingdom and memories of his childhood visits to zoos, and gave various solutions to generating interest and income to help improve the state of the Zoo. After this, board members Dr. Jovan Halley and Tammy Oliver gave Rucker and various media outlets a tour to experience the Zoo's current condition.
The Zoo's current condition shows the difficult task ahead; this is where Rucker's positive outlook, passion for animals and experience truly shone. The Zoo has not been maintained properly for many years, mainly due to the years it was especially affected by several major and minor hurricanes, which resulted in a negative budget.
Although the government assisted with a yearly subsidy, not including maintenance, and it received aid from the business community, the Zoo was barely able to maintain itself. No matter, Rucker still said, "You are sitting on a goldmine here, but you only get out of it what you put in."
Aside from his love for and interest in the animal and plant kingdom, Rucker is very active in community efforts. He is the real deal; of all the celebrities who were approached, he was the only one who took on the task of coming here to help raise funds for our Zoo, free of charge.
Saturday night, September 13, you will have the chance not only to participate heavily in contributing to save the Zoo, but also to enjoy a memorable Hollywood event with Lamman Rucker at the Zoo's fundraising Gala Premiere Movie, Dinner and Dance.
How you can help
Purchasing a ticket(s) to this fundraising event during which a silent auction will take place is just one of the ways you can help. You also can donate funds to the Zoo at any time.
The Zoo also welcomes donations of food and other items for the animals such as bowls, buckets, shovels, etc. Fruits are an important food source, so the Zoo is urging those of you who have an overflow crop from your fruit trees to bring over your extra fruit.
Building items also are welcome for reconstruction and restoration of various parts that need repair or complete replacement. A good example of this is the Zoo's boardwalk, which has rotted away and as a result is a useless eyesore that is closed to the public.
The board also will be happy for donations of construction materials, especially wood, which not only will contribute to the rebuilding of the Zoo's boardwalk, but also to repairing the playground area for the many children who love to play there after visiting the animals.
Just visiting the Zoo is yet another simple and enjoyable way to support the zoo.
Zoos play an important role in the survival of a species through extensive and scientifically controlled breeding and release programmes. They can and should be used as an educational tool for young people to gain knowledge about nature, the environment, endangered species, and conservation.
Our Zoo has been a top attraction on the island for almost 20 years, offering visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of Caribbean and South American animals, and also can provide excellent recreational value for tourists and locals alike.
Do your part to help save the St. Maarten Zoo with this incredible fundraising event and the efforts of movie star Lamman Rucker. This busy actor is giving his time and using his star power with the hope that his example may spur the St. Maarten public to action.
Rucker will be at the Belair Community Centre on Saturday evening, where you can meet, greet and dine with him, plus have the opportunity to view his movie "Where's The Love." A silent auction and surprise raffle give-away in aid of the St. Maarten Zoo will be taking place during this event.
Employers are urged to purchase tickets to the fundraising gala at the Belair Community Centre Saturday night, or even reserve a whole table for themselves and their staff, as a donation to the Save the St. Maarten Zoo Campaign.
The dress code for the event is formal Caribbean chic evening wear. Tickets are US $150 and include the movie premiere, a meet-and-greet with Rucker, dinner and entertainment all night long by Control Band.
Tickets are available at Van Dorp in Madame Estate and Simpson Bay, Bebe N Kids on Bush Road and in Bellevue on the French side, St. Maarten Veterinary Clinic, Animal Hospital of St. Maarten, Island Pet Shop, Maleona's and from all Zoo board members.