Conservation in a zoo? In a major shift of emphasis, zoos are evolving from recreational facilities into conservation organizations. This transformation involves changes in almost every aspect of the Zoo, from how animals are cared for to the types of programs offered to the amount of resources dedicated to protecting species in the wild.

In old zoos, animals were often housed alone in sterile cages for easy viewing. In modern zoos, animals are housed in normal social groups in natural settings – which is better for the animals and more educational for the public. Zoos now work to preserve animals and their habitats in their home countries.

Research is essential to these efforts. It is through research that we gather the information needed to make important conservation and management decisions. For example, in order to maintain animals in naturalistic settings, we need to know what their habitat is like in the wild. The list goes on and on, and requires work both at zoos and in the wild. The Buttonwood Park Zoo embraces this new philosophy.

In support of our mission we are a vibrant conservation organization, with projects in our own backyard and beyond. Thanks to the support of our generous visitors and our dedicated staff, the Buttonwood Park Zoo has raised over $85,000 to directly support wildlife conservation programs around the world.

Visit our conservation pages to see how we are helping to save endangered species.

Coins for Conservation

Coins for Conservation is an exciting initiative that greatly enhances our wildlife conservation work. With help from our visitors, we’ll provide funding for new and existing wildlife conservation projects. This program provides an opportunity to engage our staff and our community while also significantly expanding our contributions to wildlife conservation in our backyard and around the world.

Make a donation today that goes directly towards Coins for Conservation and the support of critical wildlife conservation programs!

Since its inception in 2015, Coins for Conservation has raised over $85,000! The following projects have received funding thanks to the Zoo’s dedication to wildlife conservation and the generosity of our visitors.

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

The Conservancy’s vision is to increase knowledge of Atlantic white sharks and change public perception to conserve the species and ensure biologically diverse marine ecosystems.

AZA Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE)

These programs focus on the collective expertise within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and leverage their massive audiences to save species. SAFE sets out to protect threatened animals, build on established recovery plans and a history of commitment, prioritize collaboration among AZA member institutions, implement strategic conservation and stakeholder engagement activities, and measure and report conservation progress. Currently, there are 30 SAFE program species and BPZOO has helped support Asian Elephant, Monarch Butterfly, Sea Turtle, and Vaquita.

Belize Audubon Society

Working alongside other AZA zoos, we have been able to support the Belize Audubon Society in hiring two staff for the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary which was established for the protection of jaguars. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is recognized internationally as the world’s first jaguar preserve as well as a reservoir for biodiversity.

Birds Caribbean

This organization helps conserve Caribbean birds and their habitats. The Zoo’s donation will help us to grow their flagship outreach and education programs, train and mentor conservation professionals, support research and monitoring, and help carry out local-level conservation actions.

Brazilian Merganser Recovery Program

The elusive Brazilian Merganser not only ranks among the most endangered of all waterfowl but rarest of all birds as well. Possibly fewer than 250 birds remain, making this Critically Endangered species in need of our help. The river habitat required by the Brazilian merganser has suffered from staggering deforestation and permanent flooding from dams. Sylvan Heights Bird Park and the International Wild Waterfowl Association are helping Brazilian organizations that work with this species by successfully hatching and raising wild Brazilian mergansers to help bolster wild populations in the future.

Cape Wildlife Center

This five-acre facility located in Barnstable, MA serves as the Cape Cod branch of the New England Wildlife Center which works to provide free wildlife veterinary care and care-based education to the local community. On average, Cape Wildlife Center treats roughly 2,500 animals each year.

East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership

This dynamic program works to save and protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat, and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them. There are currently 35 Partners including 17 countries, 6 intergovernmental agencies, 11 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and one international private enterprise. The Buttonwood Park Zoo currently supports the Scaly-sided Merganser Task Force by funding non-invasive video monitoring of artificial nest sites. The Zoo will continue to support this task force with various projects through an annual donation. Learn More

Elephant Family Asian Elephant Conservation

The Elephant Family, a conservation organization, based in London exists to save this iconic animal from extinction in the wild, along with tigers, orangutans, and all the other animals that share their habitat. Working with local people and partner non-government organizations, they currently fund 20 projects across Asia and invest where they are needed most: to protect habitat, prevent conflict, and reconnect the forest homes of the endangered Asian elephant.

Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE)

Highlighted in BPZOO’s 2022 Wildlife Education Series, their mission is to provide excellent care for rescued Grauer’s gorillas (eastern lowland gorillas) and work alongside Congolese communities to promote the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat. Located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Tayna Nature Reserve, GRACE is the world’s only sanctuary for rescued Grauer’s gorillas. GRACE nurses orphans back to health then gives them the chance to be with other gorillas again. The 14 gorillas at GRACE – all orphans – form a tight-knit surrogate family. The ultimate goal is to reintroduce them back into the wild. More than just a sanctuary, GRACE also works with local communities on conservation education, forest protection, & sustainable livelihoods to help secure a future for orphan gorillas and their wild counterparts and to foster a peaceful coexistence between humans & gorillas. Learn More

Manomet Landbird Conservation

Manomet uses science and collaboration to strengthen bird migration routes, coastal ecosystems, and working lands and seas across the Western Hemisphere. For over 50 years, they have formed vital partnerships with businesses, producers, and educators, to help nature and local communities thrive.

National Marine Life Center of Cape Cod

The National Marine Life Center in Bourne, MA is a marine animal hospital and science and education center dedicated to rehabilitating for the release of stranded sea turtles, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and small whales, and to advancing scientific knowledge and education in marine wildlife health and conservation.

Proyecto Titi

Proyecto Tití works to conserve the critically endangered cotton-top tamarin through a multi-disciplinary on-site conservation program that combines field research, education initiatives, and community programs to make the conservation of natural resources economically feasible for local communities in Colombia. The Zoo has supported this organization by purchasing titi posts which not only saves critical tamarin habitat but reduces and recycles plastic in the environment. The Zoo’s gift store also sells bags, bracelets, and stuffed animals made by the local communities to generate income and build successful eco-friendly businesses.

Red Panda Network

Red Panda Network is the world leader in red panda conservation. Conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat is done through research and monitoring, policy and advocacy, community-based conservation, education and outreach, and sustainable livelihoods. In 2019, the Zoo became a Partner in Conservation by becoming a significant contributor to the Plant a Red Panda Home campaign. This campaign will restore a minimum of 32 hectares in Eastern and Western Nepal. These degraded locations have been identified as core habitats for red pandas and are critical to their survival. The project includes the plantation of native trees (red panda food/shelter species, and NTFPs), installation of fencing to protect tree saplings, and purchase of land for restoration (Eastern Nepal only).

Save the Golden Lion Tamarin

Their main goals include filling suitable forests with golden lion tamarins, planting forest corridors to reconnect forest fragments, educating and involving the local community, and monitoring and protecting all wild golden lion tamarins and their forest. The Zoo has helped support this organization by growing approximately 100 trees to help reforestation efforts in Brazil.

The Center for Research and Conservation of Sea Turtles (CICTMAR)

This conservation education program focuses on protecting sea turtles at their nesting grounds on the Paira Peninsula, on the far eastern edge of Venezuela. Leatherback, loggerhead, green, and hawksbill sea turtles are protected while they make their way to the nesting sites. Once the eggs are laid, they are transferred to fenced hatcheries to protect them from high tides and poachers. In addition to protecting and releasing the hatchlings, females are also tagged and measured for participation in a long-term study.

The Muriqui Project of Caratinga

The northern muriqui is one of the most critically endangered primates as a result of hunting and the widespread destruction of its forests. Today 300 muriquis live at the privately owned and federally protected reserve near Caratinga, Brazil, up from 50 in 1983. The Muriqui Project helps regenerate the forest, create corridors to connect forest fragments and preserve and manage all conservation, research, and education activities at the preserve.

The Sloth Institute

Located in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, this organization focuses on enhancing the welfare and conservation of sloths through the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of hand-raised and injured sloths. While also conducting vital research, conservation and education programs to ensure their survival. To date, TSI has rescued and studied over 400 sloths, installed over 1,000 meters of sloth speedways to divert sloths from dangerous roads, and educated over 8,000 tourists.

Vaquita Rescue Project

The vaquita porpoise is on the verge of extinction with fewer than 30 remaining due to drowning in illegal fishing nets. The Buttonwood Park Zoo, along with many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, joined together to support the AZA’s SAFE program in an effort to save this species from extinction.

Vietnam Elephant Initiative (Elephant Care International)

The Vietnam Elephant Initiative is committed to supporting the Dak Lak Elephant Conservation Centre to protect a sustainable wild population of elephants in Vietnam, provide high standards of care for captive elephants, and end the use of elephants for riding, circuses, and shows. The Zoo has purchased a portable scale to help manage and care for orphaned elephants. The Zoo continues to support the Vietnam Elephant Initiative by providing funding for Vietnamese wildlife veterinarian training and medical supplies.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Program

The Zoo provides professional care to sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals so they can be returned to their natural habitat or be provided with a safe forever home here at the Zoo. Your donation helps offset the cost of the medicine, supplies, and staffing needed to allow for these animals to flourish once again. When release is not an option, our Animal Ambassador Program allows them to become an instrumental component of our wildlife education programs and provides a home to many native animals that would have otherwise not survived in the wild.

A Gift That Lasts All Year! 

BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life.