Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) will host their 23rd annual "Bowling for Rhinos" fundraiser on Wednesday, May 1, from 7-9 p.m. at the Asheboro Family Sports Center, 219 N.C. Highway 42, in Asheboro.

Each year zoo keepers from around the nation participate in this conservation fundraiser with proceeds going to help protect rhinos and other endangered animals. Bowlers solicit pledges from sponsors which go to support three rhino sanctuaries: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, Africa; Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia; and Bukit Barisan Selation National Park in Sumatra.

The N.C. Zoo chapter of AAZK has participated in the event since 1991, raising a total of more than $123,000. More than 60 AAZK chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada have raised over $4.3 million for the project. The funds help staff at the sanctuaries get better training and equipment to enable them to better protect the rhinos from poachers and other threats. All five species of rhinos-White, Black, Indian, Sumatran and Javan--are in danger of extinction due to poaching for their horns and loss of habitat.

Registration for the event begins at 6 p.m. on May 1 and a minimum contribution of $25 is required. Bowlers must be at least 10 years of age. A silent auction is also scheduled during the fundraiser. Anyone interested in bowling or sponsoring a bowler can contact N.C. Zoo Keeper Sara Monson at 336-879-7657 or
The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.