NC Zoo Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat

ASHEBORO – The North Carolina Zoo closed Monday because of a security threat, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and zoo reported.

Guests line up to leave the North Carolina Zoo after a bomb threat. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)

A bomb threat had been received at about 10:47 a.m. through electronic means and reported to law enforcement from a representative of North Carolina Zoo.

A juvenile has been identified as the subject of the threat.

Visitors and staff were evacuated. Later, zoo officials announced that 1,372 guests were evacuated.

Emergency crews were called to the zoo. Law enforcement officials conducted a search of the zoo grounds. By 1:39 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office completed its work at the scene.

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad was asked to standby, but wasn’t asked to respond to the scene.

A North Carolina Zoo ranger and law enforcement officer were part of the response to Monday’s bomb threat. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)

The Sheriff’s Office said that all “units are working with Zoo Park Rangers to secure the zoo perimeter and evacuate all patrons.”

Guests who spoke to reporters said they were asked to leave because of a “security incident.”

Among the visitors were students from Guilford County on a field trip.

“All school groups have been successfully evacuated from the zoo campus following a security threat,” according to a statement from North Carolina Zoo.

Based on online reports from visitors, the process was orderly and calm in assisting with patrons leaving the zoo grounds.

North Carolina Zoo closed unexpectedly Monday after a bomb threat. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)

By Monday afternoon, North Carolina Zoo announced that normal operations would resume Tuesday.

Randolph County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations division identified the origin of the threat. A juvenile petition will be filed with the Department of Juvenile Justice, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office had five search teams on the scene to check all public areas of the zoo.

Zoo officials will provide refunds or return tickets. They also said they hope to reschedule school groups.

Zoo officials also said that their caretakers have continued animal care. “We are prioritizing ongoing animal care based on medical needs,” the statement said.

The entrance to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro on March 27, 2023. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)
By Randolph Record