L.A. Zoo Animal Keepers Raise Funds for Critically Endangered Rhinos

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

May 13, 2015

L.A. Zoo Animal Keepers Raise Funds for Critically Endangered Rhinos
AAZK L.A. Chapter Aims To Surpass Fundraising Goal of $55,000 With Annual Bowling Event

L.A. Zoo animal care staff goes above and beyond on a daily basis providing excellent care for the animal residents at L.A. Zoo, but what many people may not realize is they donate their free time to protect species in the wild as well. Just in time for Endangered Species Day, L.A. Zoo employees who are members of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), are gearing up for their seventh annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser, in which the proceeds go to protecting the endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia.

“Rhino poaching in the wild is getting worse,” said Kris Willis, L.A. Zoo Animal Keeper, AAZK L.A. Chapter Vice President, and Bowling for Rhinos Chairperson. “The animals here at the L.A. Zoo are ambassadors for animals in the wild, and while we love them we don’t want these animals to be the only ones left. We are passionate about volunteering our time in order to create awareness and inspire people to care more about these critically endangered species in the wild.”

Due to poaching and habitat loss, some species of rhino have as little as 75 animals left in the wild. Rhinos are an umbrella species, and helping them as a result also helps other animals and plants that share their ecosystem. Poaching for their horn, which contains a protein called keratin, has become the largest issue due to Asian cultures valuing the horn as a symbol for status and wealth and its use in traditional medicine of which in reality there is none.

Participating in the AAZK’s annual charity event Bowling for Rhinos for its seventh year, the L.A. Zoo Chapter hopes to surpass last year’s goal and reach a new record high of $55,000. All of the proceeds raised throughout the year are funneled into several conservation organizations such as Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, International Rhino Fund, Action for Cheetahs, and study and travel grants. Once received by these organizations, the funds are used to pay the salaries of park rangers, provide the equipment and vehicles used to track poachers, and help educate locals about the unique species in their own back yard.

The AAZK L.A. Chapter celebrates a six year winning streak as the highest grossing fundraising chapter and has raised over $216,000. With the goal of $55,000 for 2015, the L.A. Chapter will hold its largest event of the year, Bowling for Rhinos on Saturday, May 16 at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. If you’re interested in more information or to make a donation, please visit the AAZK L.A. Bowling for Rhinos website at http://aazklosangeles.weebly.com/bowling-for-rhinos-2015.html.

Zoo guests can also get up close and personal with the L.A. Zoo’s very own Indian rhino, Randa, and become inspired to help these critically endangered animals in the wild. Randa, who lost her own horn in 2007 due to cancer treatments, can be seen in her habitat daily, weather permitting. Guests can also participate in a behind-the-scenes Indian rhino encounter with Randa on weekends and holidays for an additional fee. For additional information and tickets visit http://www.lazoo.org/visit.

About the Los Angeles Zoo

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.