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Zoo News

An Update on Asian Elephant Ruth

At the Buttonwood Park Zoo high quality animal care is always our top priority. Dedicated animal care, veterinary, and curatorial staff work diligently to meet the husbandry, behavioral, welfare, and veterinary needs at all stages of an animal’s life – geriatric animal care is an area that BPZOO dedicates many resources to, with much success.

BPZOO Rescues Two Fawns

Introducing Autumn and OliveThe Buttonwood Park Zoo has a long history of providing forever homes to orphaned and injured native wildlife, thanks to a strong partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife - and 2021 has proven...

Boo at the Zoo is Back!

Now in its 20th year – Boo at the Zoo is back to satisfy all your fall, Halloween and cool weather cravings.  With campus wide daytime trick-or-treating, there are seven chances to enjoy Boo at the Zoo this year. Want to show off your little ghosts and goblins?  Baby Boo is for you!  Baby Boo is geared towards children 5 and under, but any age is welcome!

Junior Duck Stamp On Display

On your next trip, stop into the Wildlife Education Center and enjoy U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s Junior Duck Stamp artwork from students in Massachusetts. Now on display through mid-September.

A Baby Sloth at BPZOO!

They say the best things come to those who wait – and after waiting approximately 11.5 months, there is a baby sloth at BPZOO! Born on June 22, 2021 to first time parents, 12-year-old female Sandy and 20-year-old male, Bernardo, this Hoffman’s two-toed sloth baby is the first to ever be born at BPZOO in its 127-year history.

Toe Jam Puppet Band

Sing and Dance with Toe Jam Puppet Band!Rockin' band for KIDS and their grown-ups, enjoy Toe Jam Puppet Band every Monday (weather permitting) at the Buttonwood Park Zoo! Toe Jam will occupy Charlie’s Nature Play for two 45 minute shows at 10:00am and 11:30am –...

An Update on Asian Elephant Ruth

An Update on Asian Elephant Ruth At the Buttonwood Park Zoo high quality animal care is always our top priority. Dedicated animal care, veterinary, and curatorial staff work diligently to meet the husbandry, behavioral, welfare, and veterinary needs at all stages of an animal’s life – geriatric animal care is an area that BPZOO dedicates many resources to, with much success. Recent guests to BPZOO may have noticed that Ruth, a 63-year-old female Asian elephant who has called the Zoo home since 1986, has not been as visible in the outdoor elephant habitat. Ruth has been spending much of her time convalescing inside her sand-floor barn, as she undergoes treatment for an age-related foot issue. This past May, Ruth was diagnosed with proliferative pododermatitis – which causes too much tissue to grow around the nails, toes, or pads of her feet. The likely cause of this condition is her abnormal conformation – which refers to the skeletal structure of Ruth’s legs and feet, affecting how she stands and walks. As is common in geriatric elephants, 63-year-old Ruth’s age-related arthritis of her joints has progressively worsened, despite years of anti-inflammatory treatments and regular corrective trimming of her nails and pads. This arthritis has resulted in Ruth putting excessive, unevenly distributed pressure on parts of her feet while walking and standing, causing the pododermatitis. Ruth is currently under veterinary care led by the Zoo’s in-house veterinary and animal care teams, along with leading veterinary and elephant foot experts from around the country. These experts have been assisting with her treatments, both in person and virtually. In addition to continued corrective foot pad and nail trimming, Ruth is also now being treated with medicated foot soaks, cryotherapy, antibiotics, several cutting-edge treatments, regular bandaging to assist in treatment and pain management medications as needed. As means to not exacerbate her foot issues, Ruth is mostly on stall rest, which allows her to relax comfortably in her barn and take the pressure off her afflicted foot and other arthritic joints. Just recently, she has begun to make short trips into the outdoor portion of the Asian elephant habitat. Over the last few weeks, Zoo leadership has seen some stabilization of Ruth’s foot condition. Although optimistic for a recovery, the Zoo recognizes that treatment of such a significant foot issue, particularly on a geriatric animal, will be a long process. Staff are performing regular quality of life and welfare assessments of Ruth to ensure her well-being and that she is as comfortable as possible during her treatments. Staff have been working diligently to treat Ruth’s foot condition, while also ensuring that she is comfortable and stimulated while on stall rest. We all know how Ruth is beloved by our community, so everyone can take comfort in knowing that she is receiving the best possible care for her age-related condition. As one of the oldest elephants in the North American population, Ruth is no stranger to age-related issues, such as arthritis, and for years has required a modified diet. Animal care staff carefully chop her preferred type of hay and cook all her produce, so it is gentler on her teeth. Asian elephants have six sets of molars over the course of their lifetime, and Ruth is on her final set. As Ruth continues to rest and receive treatment inside, she will be making short trips out into the Asian elephant habitat as her condition allows. Emily, BPZOO’s 57-year-old Asian elephant, will continue her typical routine of remaining outside during the Zoo’s operating hours. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on Ruth’s care through our website and social media...

BPZOO Rescues Two Fawns

Introducing Autumn and Olive The Buttonwood Park Zoo has a long history of providing forever homes to orphaned and injured native wildlife, thanks to a strong partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife – and 2021 has proven to be no exception. In early summer months, MassWildlife placed a young white-tailed deer fawn at BPZOO, who was believed to have been orphaned at less than ten days old in South Dartmouth. Weeks later, she was joined by a second fawn found alone in Western Massachusetts. They are the first white-tailed deer to inhabit BPZOO since 2017. The two fawns, now affectionately referred to as Autumn and Olive, were only weeks old when they arrived at BPZOO and required hand-rearing by animal care staff. After approximately two months of bottle feeding, weight checks and completing the required quarantine, the fawns are ready to venture into a temporary habitat near their future home in the Zoo’s bison habitat. In discussing the new arrivals, Zoo Director, Keith Lovett stated that “as part of our mission related to environmental education and the conservation of wildlife, the Zoo is proud to provide homes to many native species that are injured or orphaned in the wild. The Zoo, who has a long history in managing deer, will work to educate our guests on the impact humans can have on local wildlife and actions that can be taken to minimize our imprint on the environment.” Eventually, Autumn and Olive will move into the bison habitat, a roughly ½ acre space that the fawns will share with Sarah the bison and approximately 16 species of waterfowl.  For now, the two fawns can be viewed in the side yard to the right of the entrance plaza. About White-tailed Deer White-tailed deer can survive in a variety of terrestrial habitats, from the big woods of northern Maine to the deep saw grass and hammock swamps of Florida. Ideal white-tailed deer habitat would contain dense thickets (in which to hide and move about) and edges (which furnish food). White-tailed deer fawns nurse for 8 to 10 weeks before they are weaned. Young males leave their mother after one year, but young females often stay with their mother for two years. Nervous and shy animals, white-tailed deer wave their tails characteristically from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. They are extremely agile and may bound at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. White-tailed deer are also good swimmers and often enter large streams and lakes to escape predators, insects or to visit...

Boo at the Zoo is Back!

SLIGHTLY SPOOKY FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY Now in its 20th year – Boo at the Zoo will satisfy all your fall, Halloween and cool weather cravings.  With campus wide daytime trick-or-treating, there are seven chances to enjoy Boo at the Zoo this year. Want to show off your little ghosts and goblins?  Baby Boo is for you!  Baby Boo is geared towards children 5 and under, but any age is welcome! Boo at the Zoo Saturdays & SundaysOctober 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 3110:00am – 6:00pm Baby Boo Friday, October 299:00am – 2:00pm Dress the kids in their favorite costume and come explore all that BPZOO has to offer! We’ll provide families with a socially-distanced walk through experience with some twists and turns along the way. Our slightly spooky theme will include mazes, a scavenger hunt, plenty of trick-or-treat stations, free carousel rides, endless photo opportunities including a photo costume contest, Halloween themed animal enrichment, and up-close meet and greets with the Zoo’s Animal Ambassadors. Don’t forget to stop into the Cafe to enjoy festive, fall favorites – who can resist kettle corn and apple cider! Families are encouraged to bring their own “trick or treat” bags.  All proceeds from Boo at the Zoo support the Zoo’s education and family programs.  🎃 What will you create this year!? Submissions for our popular Pumpkin Decorating Contest can be dropped off at the Zoo on October 11 & 12.  We are excited to bring Boo at the Zoo back for the 2021 season! In order to do so, we have implemented measures to encourage social distancing among guests and staff and to protect our animals. By purchasing your event ticket, you agree to: Abide by social distancing rules and do your best to give space between families Wear a face mask whenever indoors – this means masks are required upon entry into the Zoo, to use the restrooms, indoor cafe and the Rainforest building Are you or your family looking for a unique way to give back to the community? Boo at the Zoo at Buttonwood Park Zoo is a fun way to volunteer while helping to create slightly spooky memories for thousands of families. Click here for more information! Boo at the Zoo Prices BPZOO Member: $12 Adult, $8 Child Non-member: $17 Adult, $13 Child Under 2 is free We strongly encourage purchasing your tickets online in advance. Entry is limited each hour and we cannot guarantee that tickets will be available at the door. Buy Tickets for Boo at the Zoo Buy Tickets for Baby Boo Thank you to our Sensationally Spooky Sponsor: Thank you to our Trick or Treat Sponsors: We can’t wait to see everybody this year at...

Junior Duck Stamp On Display

This Artwork is Just Ducky On your next trip, stop into the Wildlife Education Center and enjoy U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s Junior Duck Stamp artwork from students in Massachusetts. Now on display through mid-September. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is an art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others. The winning artwork from a national art contest serves as the design for the Junior Duck Stamp, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces annually. One hundred percent of the revenue from the sale of Junior Duck stamps goes to support recognition and environmental education activities for students who participate in the program. What is a Duck Stamp? In 1934, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or Duck Stamp Act), and an increasingly concerned nation took firm action to stop the destruction of wetlands vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. Under the act, all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and over must annually buy and carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – better know today as a Federal Duck Stamp. The artwork for the stamp is chosen through the Federal Duck Stamp Art contest. While waterfowl hunters are required to purchase them, stamp collectors, birders, nature photographers and other outdoor and art enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps as collector’s items and to help protect wildlife...

A Baby Sloth at BPZOO!

First Sloth Birth in 127 Year History They say the best things come to those who wait – and after waiting approximately 11.5 months, there is a baby sloth at BPZOO! Born on June 22, 2021 to first time parents, 12-year-old female Sandy and 20-year-old male, Bernardo, this Hoffman’s two-toed sloth baby is the first to ever be born at BPZOO in its 127-year history. BPZOO’s veterinarian, Dr. Erica Lipanovich, examined the baby at six days old. “Since this is Sandy’s first birth, we wanted to give her plenty of space to bond with baby before we performed an examination. We were able to quickly examine the baby at six days old, where it weighed in at 348 grams (roughly 0.76 pounds) – both baby and mom are doing exceptionally well.” Sloths do mostly everything upside down high up in the trees – eat, sleep, mate, and give birth – lowering to the ground only to defecate. For months, after confirming pregnancy as part of this animal’s regular ultrasound exam training, Zookeepers were carefully monitoring and awaiting this monumental birth, eagerly checking on Sandy every morning. They were ecstatic to discover the tiny baby – born fully eared, eyes open and able to climb on the morning of the 22nd. The baby will cling tightly to its mother’s fur, and young sloths remain near their mothers for around a year. Zoo staff will continue to monitor the baby’s growth with weekly weight checks and will eventually determine the sex, which can be an incredibly tricky process in sloths . “Sandy is doing a great job,” said Jessica Martinho, one of the Zookeepers who cares for the sloths. “She is sleeping and eating; the baby is nursing – both are doing exactly what they should be doing.” Bernardo, Sandy, and baby are three out of 77 Hoffman’s two-toed sloths at 34 AZA institutions. Buttonwood Park Zoo proudly cooperates with other members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through the Species Survival Plan while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. When discussing the first sloth birth in the Zoo’s history, BPZOO Director, Keith Lovett expressed how pleased he was to share this birth with the entire community. “Sloths are one of the most popular species at the Zoo and bringing additional awareness of these unique, fascinating animals will help further educate our audience to the importance of conserving wildlife.” BPZOO offers a daily “Keeper Chat”, an opportunity to learn more about these slow-moving animals, at 10:00 am in the Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs building (face coverings are required to enter this building). The Zoo is located at 425 Hawthorn Street in New Bedford and is open from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm daily throughout the summer. About Hoffman’s Two-Toed Sloths: Hoffman’s two-toed sloths, Choloepus hoffmanni, are native to Costa Rica in lower Central America, across Panama, northwestern Colombia and Ecuador, and into portions of Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Currently listed as a Least Concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Hoffman’s two-toed sloths do not have any major threats at the global level. However, subpopulations in the northwestern part of its range, especially in Colombia and Central America, are declining due to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets to tourists in Colombia. This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild population. Two-toed sloths may live around 20 years in the wild and over 40 years in a zoological setting. This herbivorous, nocturnal mammal has been exhibited in AZA zoos since...

Toe Jam Puppet Band

Sing and Dance with Toe Jam Puppet Band! Rockin’ band for KIDS and their grown-ups, enjoy Toe Jam Puppet Band every Monday (weather permitting) at the Buttonwood Park Zoo! Toe Jam will occupy Charlie’s Nature Play for two 45 minute shows at 10:00am and 11:30am – outside, weather permitting. The cost is $10/family after admission. Nature Play will be closed to general visitors from 9:00 – 12:30.   Please be aware that Toe Jam Puppet Band will NOT be playing on Monday, September 6 and Monday, October 11. Do you visit us two or three times a year!? Then you need a BPZOO Membership!