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RHINO BUCKET: OKC Zoo hosts annual Bowling for Rhinos event to help save endangered species

Photo by Gillian Lang
Rupert is an Indian rhino at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
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OKLAHOMA CITY — According to Oklahoma City Zoo naturalist instructor Erica Buckwalter, there are five species of rhinoceroses in Asia and Africa and of those, three are critically endangered and dangerously close to extinction.

“Just to give you a good idea of how bad it is, in 2014, 12,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa, and that’s just South Africa, it’s not the rest of Africa,” Buckwalter said. “So you’ve got rhinos across the continent, in Kenya, Tanzania and all these other places, and that’s just one section of Africa that they lost. It is illegal but this is all black market and money talks, and, unfortunately money’s not talking for the animals unless you have organizations that are going to raise money to save these species.”

One such organization is the American Association of Zookeepers. As rhino numbers dwindle thanks to a mixture of habitat loss and, even worse, illegal poaching—many cultures believe a rhino’s horn has certain medicinal purposes—since 1990, the AAZK’s annual Bowling for Rhinos event has netted over 6 million dollars to date, with the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Chapter of the group contributing a little over $300,000 of that.

“The OKC Metro is very lucky to have a wonderful zoo here,” Buckwalter said. “I myself have actually had the chance to go to Africa; I was there for four months and while I love to see the animals we have here, seeing them in the wild is significantly different and I really think when somebody gets a chance to go to the wild and see animals in their natural habitat, it makes you appreciate them so much more.”

The 2017 Bowling for Rhinos event will be held at 6 p.m., July 22nd at Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Pennsylvania Ave. Sign-in begins at 5 p.m. Tickets range between $20-$30 and all money raised from the family-friendly event will go to help keep wild life preservation areas in Indonesia and Africa running and employed with dedicated defense teams called “Rhino Protection Units.”

Attendees, in addition to three games of bowling and shoe rentals, will receive a t-shirt that says “No Rhino Left Behind” with a rhino’s footprint on it and pizza will be provided. This year, there will also be door-prizes, raffle tickets and a silent auction filled with “really high value items” that Buckwalter said “the community is really going to like.”

“By attending Bowling for Rhinos, we are hopefully saving these species for future generations so they will truly care about them as well,” Buckwalter added. “Plus Oklahomans can feel good knowing that even though they are locally supporting this event, they are globally having a real impact.”

Tickets for Bowling for Rhinos are available here.

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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