“Making Tracks for Tigers” Benefit held at Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square

NEW YORK (October 20, 2010)
—Legendary recording artist Paul Simon joined the Wildlife Conservation Society in the fight to save tigers from extinction at a private performance tonight at Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square.

Funds raised at the concert will support WCS efforts to save tigers in their last remaining strongholds in Asia. Conservationists estimate that approximately 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, including only 1,000 breeding females.

“The conservation of wild tigers is important for the ecological health of landscapes and for the richness they impart to human cultures,” said Dr. Steven Sanderson, WCS President and CEO. “We continue to celebrate the Year of the Tiger with appreciation to Paul Simon for helping us raise awareness and funds to save these charismatic predators.”

Tigers are severely threatened by overhunting, logging, and illegal wildlife trade. A recent WCS study identified 42 “source sites” as top priorities for saving the world’s largest cat. The study estimated that an additional $35 million a year targeted at these sites could help tigers rebound.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society is thankful to Paul Simon for his commitment to our ongoing work to save the tiger from extinction,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs. “Paul Simon’s amazing performance tonight at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square inspired us and raised needed funding for tigers.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society has a long history of conservation efforts to save the tiger, including the first ecological studies on this majestic cat in the 1960s. Conservationists from WCS are on the ground assisting governments with the establishment of protected areas, increasing enforcement against poaching, and promoting conservation awareness through public education.

Earlier this year, WCS commemorated the Chinese Year of the Tiger with its annual Run for the Wild, a 5-kilometer run and family fun run/walk through the Bronx Zoo’s 265 acres. The run attracted more than 5,000 participants. Next year’s “Run for the Wild” will feature the penguin as its conservation theme.

To assist WCS with its conservation efforts, Hard Rock Cafe New York has produced a charity pin featuring two tigers from the Bronx Zoo’s Tiger Mountain exhibit. The Wildlife Conservation Society will receive proceeds from the pin, now on sale at Hard Rock’s Times Square and Yankee Stadium locations.

Paul Simon’s philanthropic work includes the co-founding of The Children’s Health Fund and he has also raised millions of dollars for a variety of organizations benefiting the environment as well.

John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)
Mary Dixon: (1-718-220-3711; mdixon@wcs.org)

About the Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

About Hard Rock International
With a total of 168 venues in 51 countries, including 133 cafes and 14 Hotels/Casinos, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, San Diego, Pattaya, Bali, Macau, Penang and Singapore. Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Punta Cana, scheduled to open in 2010; Panama, scheduled to open in 2012; and Hungary, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2013. Hard Rock International is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For further details on Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, visit www.hardrockhotels.com. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com.

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation