ASHEBORO, NC - The North Carolina Zoo Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), with support from Blue Rhino Gas Company, will host their 20th annual "Bowling for Rhinos" fundraiser on Wednesday, May 11.

This year's event will begin at 6:15 p.m. at the Family Sports Center, 219 N.C. Highway 42, Asheboro. Each year zookeepers 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.

Since 1991, the N.C. Zoo chapter of the AAZK has participated in the event raising a total of nearly $100,000. More than 60 AAZK chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada annually raise over $300,000 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.

Anyone interested in bowling in the event or sponsoring a bowler can contact N.C. Zoo Keeper Hannah Decker at 336-879-7659 or

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The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Perdue,Governor.