Bowling for the zoo, June 2, 2019

Bowlers got into the spirit of the cause during Bowling for the Zoo fundraiser at The Bowling Barn June 2.

It wasn’t the repeated clap of a mountain thunderstorm heard in Big Bear on June 2. It was applause and ovation for the 80 bowlers and more than 100 businesses in the Big Bear community who participated in the Friends of Big Bear Alpine Zoo’s most successful fundraiser to date.

The three-hour event, Bowling for the Zoo, took place with months of preparation, and yielded $32,500. All proceeds are focused on supporting the zoo’s new program of veterinary care.

Event chair and board member, Eloise Lepore, was overwhelmed with joy at the amount of community support for this event. “It’s so wonderful to see how much our community cares about our zoo and its plans for improving animal care for all of our wonderful ambassador animals,” Lepore said. “It makes me proud to be a part of this supportive organization.”

Funds raised by the event will be earmarked specifically for the zoo’s focus on proactive veterinary care.

“We now have a consulting veterinarian who makes regular visits to our zoo, allowing us to plan and conduct both wellness exams on our animals as well as quick responses to more urgent medical needs,” said Bob Cisneros, zoo curator. “There’s an old African proverb that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I like to think that it takes a community to support a zoo; the Friends of Big Bear Alpine Zoo and our community continuously prove that to be true.”

In preparation for the zoo’s move to its new location, wellness exams have been conducted on nearly 80 percent of its current animal residents. “With many of our animals in their geriatric years, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Cisneros said. “Having the support of the Friends makes this possible.”

Founded in 1959, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo serves the community as a zoo, rehabilitation and education center, and is operated and owned by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, a special district of the county of San Bernardino.

The Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo was formed in 1989 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose purpose is to support the Big Bear Alpine Zoo through educating the public regarding treatment, protection and conservation of wildlife; recruiting and coordinating zoo volunteers and fundraising.

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is at 43285 Goldmine Drive, Big Bear Lake. For more information, call 909-584-1299 or visit

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