Meet a Zookeeper for Rhinos

Zookeeper with a Passion to Save Rhinos


Amber Berndt has a passion for rhinos. Her dedication to these magnificent mammals goes beyond the workday; Amber is key to the success of the annual the Bowling for Rhinos event.

Tell me more about your involvement in Bowling for Rhinos.

Bowling for Rhinos is a national American Association of Zoo Keepers(AAZK) event; I’m our local chapter’s Bowling for Rhinos chair. This annual, family-friendly event includes bowling, pizza and a silent auction, all to raise money for rhinoceros conservation in the wild and increase awareness of the poaching crisis. I personally was 10th in the nation for most money raised for AAZK’s rhinoceros conservation last year. This year we doubled our amount from 2015, so I’m hoping to rank higher than 10th!

What is it about this species that inspires you to go above and beyond?

I have worked with the Indianapolis Zoo’s white rhinos for 11 years and cherish the bond I have with each of them. They are very social and like to interact with their keepers.  Because of my passion for rhinos, I am a member of the International Rhino Keepers Association and attend bi-annual workshops to enhance my rhinoceros knowledge. I also love to educate guests about the five species of rhino, share some of my stories, and explain how they can help contribute to saving rhinos because they need our help in the wild.

What can Zoo members do to get involved in rhino conservation?​

I want to encourage members to take a look at our local AAZK’s website and Facebook page and follow all of our events including Bowling for Rhinos. There are links for them to donate if they cannot attend.  For more on the poaching crisis, the International Rhino Foundation is a great way to stay up to date; they are on the front lines of this devastating issue.

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