Rhinos? I thought you said winos!
Patty feeding an Orphaned Rhino at Lewa
See more Safari pics on our photos page.
What's with the Rhinos?
Back in 1991, when Patty was a zookeeper and Herbie was working at Indiana U. while pretending to be attempting to complete his college degree, Patty was involved in the first ever Bowling For Rhinos fundraiser. Using her wedding invite list for a pool of donors, she sent out notes to friends and family asking for donations, lobbied local companies to donate, and raised the most money of all the volunteers. In thanks for rasing the highest amount, she received a trip to the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary (now encompassed by Lewa Wildlife Conservancy) and was asked to be the official coordinator for the AAZK Bowling For Rhinos fundraisers.
I was lucky enough to convince Patty to let me tag along (my cost of course) and share with her this life changing experience. Words cannot fully explain the feeling we had when we went on our first evening's game drive across the dusty african plains. Our first view of wild elephant reminded us how great these creatures are - the matriarch pulled a tree out of the ground and dropped it in the road (dirt path) we were travelling on to stop us from getting any closer to her herd. At that time the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy didn't exist, however, the people that now manage it also helped manage the fledgling rhino sanctuary. We stayed in their guest bedrooms (or tents), managed to fall asleep at night listening to the sounds of wildlife being accosted by the night predators, and were completely awed by their friendly hospitality. Read Patty's letter to the American Association of Zookeepers where she talks about her first visit to Lewa.
Also browse the photo collection from Lewa. In 1994, acting as Bowling For Rhinos Coordinator, Patty was invited to Ujung Kulon to investigate funding for Indonesia's Javan Rhino conservation efforts. Another life changing trip for us, we were impressed again by the hospitality and friendliness of the Indonesian people, especially our jungle trek guide, Buti. Read Patty's note to AAZK on this wonderful trip.
Anyway, since we became involved in these efforts, we've taken these efforts to be our contribution back to the world, saving rhino habitats and the thousands of plant and animal species that live with them. Patty volunteers anywhere between 10-20 hours a week, I of course get involved as her unofficial photographer, computer media support specialist, programmer for her tools she uses to track the fundraising efforts, and webmaster for the Bowling For Rhinos website. Additionally, I donate the monies to host the websites for Lewa and AAZK's BFR websites.