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Zoo News

BPZOO mourns the loss of 22-year-old bison

It is with heavy hearts that BPZOO says goodbye to 22-year-old bison, Sarah.

Noon Year’s Eve

Ring in the New Year at NOON time by toasting with a slice of toast and sparkling apple juice!

Cookies, Paws and Santa Claus

Jingle all the way over to the Buttonwood Park Zoo for some holiday fun at Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus!

Name Our Sloth!

Help us choose a name for the first sloth born at BPZOO while supporting sloth care and conservation!

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...

BPZOO mourns the loss of 22-year-old bison

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is mourning the loss of Sarah, a 22-year-old American bison who came here in 2000, just in time to be present for the Zoo’s grand reopening. She called BPZOO home for the last 21 years. Being one of the Zoo’s most geriatric residents, Sarah’s caretakers paid special attention to her age-related needs. In September 2021, they noted that Sarah seemed to have some trouble navigating her habitat. BPZOO veterinary staff evaluated Sarah, and after consulting with a veterinary ophthalmologist, determined that her protruding eyes were likely an early indication of glaucoma. While Sarah’s prognosis was eventual blindness, animal care staff felt confident that her quality of life was still high and that they could continue to ensure she was comfortable and well cared for. Sarah was closely monitored until November 2021, where she began to exhibit concerning neurological symptoms that were consistent with those of a midbrain tumor. BPZOO veterinary and animal care staff consulted with a veterinarian who specializes in large animals. Based on that recommendation and an internal quality-of-life assessment, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her.   The life expectancy of American bison is 15 to 20 years. BPZOO feels fortunate to have had such long-lived bison. Geriatric animal care is an area that BPZOO dedicates many resources to and has had much success in. Sarah had shared this beautiful habitat with longtime companion Grace and before that a male named George. Sarah, Grace and George all came to the Zoo together in 2000. George sired six calves here at BPZOO. Sarah had three female calves named Nutmeg, Sage, and Cinnamon. Once mature, these calves moved onto other AZA facilities as part of an organized breeding program. Since Grace’s passing in 2018, Sarah had been cohabitating with a variety of waterfowl, a pair of sandhill cranes, and Autumn and Olive, two white-tailed deer fawns that were orphaned earlier this summer. Our staff, and our visitors, will certainly miss the presence of these iconic, majestic animals. Whether they were seen slowly, methodically grazing or so perfectly laying in the open pasture tails swinging. Their silly and wild romps through the deep snow will forever stick in our memories as will the tossing, smashing, and interacting with enrichment items- especially Christmas trees. Those who were lucky enough to care for these animals will fondly remember the quiet and thoughtful training sessions and the attentiveness when the barn shift door opened. The loss of Sarah is difficult, but our team takes comfort in knowing she, and so many of our resident animals, are living long, full lives. The Zoo is currently pursuing adding new bison to this habitat and we hope to be able to share updates over the next few...

Noon Year's Eve

Ring in the New Year With Us!   WHOOOO says you have to wait until midnight to ring in the new year?  Grab your party hats and dancing shoes and head to the Zoo for a Noon Year’s Eve celebration! This unique, family-friendly celebration includes a dance party with DJ Danny Levin, fun with Mr. Bubble Man, exciting encounters with the Zoo’s animal ambassadors and a festive craft activity! Train and carousel rides, weather permitting, are also included.Ring in the New Year at NOON time by toasting with a slice of toast and sparkling apple juice! Friday, December 3110:30am – 12:30pm This event will be held OUTDOORS in our Buttonwood Farm/Nature Play area – please dress accordingly! Buy Tickets Pre-registration if required*This event will be held rain or shine*    Adult Non- Members: $12Child Non- Members: $10(includes zoo admission) Adult Members: $7Child Members: $5  Kids 1 & under are free Additional Information: Masks are required indoors for all guests over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status. Strongly recommended for children ages 2 -5. Masks are required upon entry into the Zoo, to use the restrooms and cafe, and to enter the Rainforest building.     Questions? Please contact Katie Sherman, Event Manager, at 508-991-4556 ext. 120 or ksherman@bpzoo.org

Cookies, Paws and Santa Claus

Enjoy Holiday Magic at Cookies, Paws and Santa Claus!   Jingle all the way over to the Buttonwood Park Zoo for some holiday fun at Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus! Let your creativity run wild as you decorate your own sweet treat and create some holiday magic at festive craft stations. With animal encounters, unlimited rides, delicious hot cocoa, and lots of memories to be made, you certainly won’t want to miss out on this family fun event! Don’t forget to bring your letter to Santa with your holiday wishes as he will be flying in for a visit to see his favorite friends! Saturday and SundayDecember 11, 12, 18, 1910:00am – 11:30am and 12:30pm to 2:00pm This event is now sold out Pre-registration is required and tickets are limited for each session. Member prices: Adults $12Children: $10 Non-Member prices: Adults $15Children: $13 Children under 3 are free Thank you to the following for donating cookies and services:Culinary Department at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical HighschoolFlour Girls Baking CompanyMad Good Cookies Additional Information: The Wildlife Education Center will be open exclusively for event guests. The activities and animal encounters will take place inside the building where masks are required for all guests over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status. Strongly recommended for children ages 2 -5. Photos with Santa will take place outside (masks not required). Train and carousel rides are included – weather dependent.   Questions? Please contact Katie Sherman, Event Manager, at 508-991-4556 ext. 120 or ksherman@bpzoo.org

Name Our Sloth!

Baby Sloth Needs a Name Here’s an opportunity of a lifetime. We are inviting YOU to help us name our four-month-old baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth. Born on June 22, 2021, to first time parents Sandy and Bernardo, this cutie is the very first sloth to be born here in our 127-year history. Our friends and followers have suggested some names (over 500 to be exact) and together with our naming committee which included local radio personality Michael Rock from FUN 107, five names were selected to be put to a community vote! For just $1.00 you can vote AND support sloth conservation. For every dollar donation, your name is entered in for the chance to win. The winner will be selected at random and receive a private meet and greet with the baby sloth inside the Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs building. The name who receives the highest donation wins! Name options for the baby sloth:  Arlo Moby Lento Herman Ziggy VOTE NOW! Or text SLOTHNAME to 41444 For a good cause! The proceeds will go directly towards sloth care here at the Zoo and conservation in the wild. BPZOO will be supporting The Sloth Institute, an in-situ conservation organization in Costa Rica that works to enhance 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. DID YOU KNOW: There are six species of sloths that live in the tropical forests of Central and South America, ranging from critically endangered to least concern. Although listed as least concern according to the IUCN, in parts of their range Hoffman’s two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) are declining due to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Electrocution from electrical wires and death as a result of increasing roads also pose a threat to these slow-moving mammals. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets as part of the tourist industry. This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild population. PROUD SUPPORTER OF THE: THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING GLOBAL CONSERVATION...

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...