Save the Date!
Bowling for Rhinos
Thanks to tremendous community support, last year’s Bowling For Rhinos (BFR) was the most successful on record, and the Los Angeles chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) raised more than $35,000 for the cause. And the cause is more important than ever with poaching at historic highs.
Since it began in 1990, BFR has generated more than $4 million in direct support to control poaching and protect ecosystems that support rhinos and the species that share their habitat.
This year AAZK-L.A. hopes to even raise more funds with a night of bowling at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. Festivities include a silent auction, opportunity drawings, food, costumes—and of course bowling. Learn how to get involved by contacting Mike Bona (AAZKLosAngeles@Gmail.com) or leaving a message with your name and phone number at (323) 644-6004.
May 11 (Saturday)
While zoos have long been considered to be places of both education and entertainment, their role as conservation organizations has become more prominent as natural habitats are being destroyed globally. Zoos can not only provide what may be the lone safe haven for many endangered species, but also by working with other zoos, they can help create important genetic reservoirs to fight against extinction for certain select species.
Today’s animal keeper is both equipped and passionate about the role he or she plays in maintaining the physical and psychological wellbeing of the animals in their care. The physical wellbeing of the animals is met by providing clean environments for the animals to live in and by diligently monitoring their health and behavior. An equally important aspect of an animal keeper’s job is maintaining the psychological wellbeing of these same animals by ensuring that the animals are mentally stimulated. This critical task is accomplished in a number of ways and is limited only by a keeper’s imagination.
Daily, keepers take the time to scatter and hide food around an animal’s exhibit. They can also put food in puzzle feeders that will challenge and occupy an animals’ time as it tries to get the desired food item out of the device. Keepers can also engage in activities like spreading another animals’ scent around an exhibit to stimulate a carnivore’s hunting instincts, or by providing branches and leaves for an herbivore to enjoy. What the caregivers are providing for the animals is referred to as environmental enrichment. Keepers can also stimulate an animal’s mind and make it easier to medically manage these animals by teaching them to present various body parts as part of an operant conditioning program. Activities like these can be incredibly stimulating and rewarding for animals as they try to figure out what their caregiver is asking of them.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers is an organization committed to professional development and providing animal keepers with opportunities to raise money for animal onservation. Fundraisers held at AAZK chapters throughout the nation have generated both money and awareness for various conservation programs around the globe. One such fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos, has actually raised well over three million dollars to help save rhinos in Asia and Africa.
The Los Angeles Zoo has recently reinstated its AAZK Chapter. This Chapter is also committed to professional development. In order to learn from others and share our experiences we have set up professional meetings with animal keepers from other institutions around the Southern California area. AAZK/LA has raised $1,000 for Elephant Conservation in Cambodia, $30,000 for Rhino Conservation in the wild and $4,500 for Gorilla Conservation in Central Africa.