What has over 2,800 members, has a lot of spares and helps protect rhinos? That would be the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK). The AAZK is a non-profit volunteer organization mainly made up of professional zookeepers. Their main mission is to advance excellence in the zookeeping profession and promote the preservation of natural resources and animal life. One way they do this is through an event called Bowling for Rhinos.
Bowling for Rhinos is fun, family-oriented, fundraising event started by the AAZK in 1990. Since then, AAZK chapters across the country have raised over $4 million for rhino conservation. One of the organizations supported through Bowling for Rhinos is the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, a 65,000-acre protected area that is home to endangered black and white rhinos. Poachers pose one of the greatest threats to rhinos and very few rhinos survive today outside of protected parks.
The Indianapolis chapter of the AAZK is proud to have participated in the event from the beginning. Susanne Wyatt, Indianapolis AAZK Chapter President, says, “It is very important for people to get involved with Bowling for Rhinos, because poaching of rhinos is still occurring on a large scale. Bowling for Rhinos helps educate people about the plight of the rhinos, but more importantly, the money that is donated helps rhino conservation groups not only with anti-poaching strategies, but also with education efforts.”
This year’s event takes place on May 18, 2013 at All Star Bowl at 726 N. Shortridge Road in Indianapolis. The cost is $15 per bowler, which includes three games of bowling, shoe rental, live music, pizza, soft drinks, and a chance to win prizes. Pa
rticipants who raise at least $20 in donations will receive a free “Bowling for Rhinos” souvenir and an extra chance to win prizes. The top fund-raiser will receive a behind-the-scenes tour for six people to see the Indianapolis Zoo’s white rhinos!
The AAZK typically raises between $200,000-$300,000 every year with the Bowling for Rhinos event, but this year they have set the bar even higher with a goal of raising $500,000.
Mark your calendars and come help us achieve that goal! For more information, visit the Indianapolis AAZK chapter's Facebook page.