Sunday, June 23
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NC Zoo Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat

A Sheriff’s Deputy walks into the Africa entrance at the NC Zoo after a bomb threat triggered an evacuation. [Scott Pelkey | North State Journal]

ASHEBORO — The North Carolina Zoo has been evacuated and closed due to a bomb threat this morning.

Monday morning at approximately 10:45 am, emergency crews were called to the Zoo after receiving a report of a bomb threat.

An evacuation took place of all guests, including several field trip groups visiting the zoo today. Guests who spoke to reporters say they were asked to leave due to a “security incident”.

According to information released by the Randolph County Sheriff’s office, a zoo employee received the threat through “electronic means.”

Emergency vehicles at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro on March 27, 2023. (Scott Pelkey | For the North State Journal)

The Sheriff’s office says it is working with zoo staff to secure a perimeter around the zoo. The Guilford County Sheriff’s office bomb squad is assisting in the investigation.

This is an on-going breaking news incident. Updates will be published as they are made available.

UPDATE – 3/27/23 2:15 pm – The North Carolina Zoo issued a statement regarding today’s evacuation and closure on its website a short time ago.

Evacuation update

Attention! All school groups and Zoo employees have been successfully evacuated from the Zoo campus following a security threat this morning (Monday, March 27). Guest safety is our top priority!

Concerned parents or guardians should reach out directly to their student’s school for confirmation regarding individual student updates or schedule changes for the remainder of the school day. 

Please direct all inquiries about refunds or return tickets for guests here 3/27/23 to email guestservices@nczoo.org. 

Any school groups that were scheduled that are looking to reschedule can email reservations@nczoo.org or speak with them at 336-879-7700 starting tomorrow.

We love our animals! Staff members at the North Carolina Zoo are working diligently to ensure the safety of animals following the successful evacuation of 1,372 guests on Monday, March 27. The evacuation was the result of a security threat received shortly before 11 AM. Caretakers have confirmed that all animals received their morning meals prior to start of business; we are prioritizing ongoing animal care based on medical needs. 

NC Zoo Website

UPDATE 3/27/23 2:45 pm – The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office says a sweep of the zoo found no threat and a juvenile subject responsible for the bomb threat will be referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

According to an update from the Sheriff’s Office, five search teams were deployed to search all public areas of the park. A secondary search of all public areas was also completed. At 11:48 am no items of suspicion were located.

The Greensboro Police Department Bomb Squad was requested to standby in case they were needed to assist in the investigation but were not asked to respond to the scene.

The zoo was rendered safe, and all Sheriff’s deputies cleared the scene at 1:39 p.m.

The Criminal Investigations Division were able to identify the origins of the original message and identified the juvenile subject that conveyed the threat. A juvenile petition will be filed with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The NC Zoo will resume normal business hours tomorrow, March 28, 2023.