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BPZOO Mourns the Loss of Beloved Cougar

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is sad to announce that Nikki, a fourteen-year-old female cougar, passed away on February 22nd, 2024, after a period of rapid decline due to end-stage chronic kidney disease. Orphaned in the wild in Oregon in 2010, Nikki found a forever home at...

BPZOO Supports International Red Panda Conservation Initiatives

There is no arguing that BPZOO’s red panda family are among some of the most charismatic, adorable, and beloved animals in New Bedford. They are also working overtime as ambassadors to their species, inspiring the New Bedford community to care about red panda...

Creature Creations

Join us for Creature Creations, an indoor painting class led by instructor Kathleen Patrick and a zoo educator. This fun program will introduce your child to a featured animal, either inside the classroom or at an animal habitat.

BPZOO’s Seal Pod is Now at Three

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is thrilled to introduce two new female harbor seals to the New Bedford community – Luna, age two, and Conway, age one. These new residents arrived in early November from the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, NY, and have already bonded with long-time zoo resident, Blue.

Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus

Join us for festive fun, where you can unleash your creativity by decorating your own sweet treats and partake in holiday magic at craft stations. Enjoy animal encounters, unlimited rides, and indulge in delicious hot cocoa—all while creating lasting memories with your family.

Fishbowl

Join us for Buttonwood Park Zoological Society’s 4th Annual FISHBOWL bowling fundraiser! Bowlers of all ages and abilities are welcome. Team costumes are encouraged.

BPZOO Mourns the Loss of Beloved Cougar

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is sad to announce that Nikki, a fourteen-year-old female cougar, passed away on February 22nd, 2024, after a period of rapid decline due to end-stage chronic kidney disease. Orphaned in the wild in Oregon in 2010, Nikki found a forever home at BPZOO alongside Riley, the male cougar she shared a habitat with. Described by team members as willful and stubborn, with a strong sense of what she did and did not want, Nikki held a special place in the hearts of her Zookeepers. “You knew when she trusted you,” said Katie Harding, a member of the BPZOO’s animal care staff who spent thirteen years working with Nikki. “It wasn’t easy, but when you got there, you knew you were lucky to be part of her circle.” Being part of that circle meant getting a peek inside her fun, and sometimes quirky, personality through training exercises and enrichment items – finding something that truly amused her could feel like a huge win. Steph Durette-Medeiros smiled as she remembered watching Nikki explore various enrichment she provided. “She had a love/hate relationship with large plastic items.  She would go crazy for the blue plastic barrel that was in her habitat with her. She also loved the mirror that was in there, as well as the buoys we used for target training – it brought us a lot of joy to see those natural behaviors come out because of things we made for her.” It was also special to see the deep bond between Nikki and Riley – BPZOO’s male cougar – who spent their time together either snuggling or playing. At the advanced age of fourteen, Riley also shows signs of kidney disease, but is continuing to participate in treatments. BPZOO veterinarian and animal care team noticed a change in Nikki over the past few weeks. Her appetite began to decrease, and she was noticeably lethargic. Once she began refusing food, medication was no longer an option. The decision was made to humanely euthanize Nikki, surrounded by those she carefully selected to be in her inner circle. “These decisions are always difficult,” said Gary Lunsford, Director of Zoological Services.  “The team does everything possible to provide the best lives for our animal residents, and it isn’t easy to let them go.  Animals in professional care at accredited zoos often live well beyond their normal life expectancy with ongoing veterinary care.  It is a challenging week for the team as we are engaged in similar discussions regarding our cow, Daisy, as she succumbs to a chronic uterine tumor.” “I am truly honored to have gotten to work so closely with Nikki,” said Dr. Emmy Budas, BPZOO’s Veterinarian. “We have been doing daily training sessions with her for the past few months to improve her treatment plan. Nikki is normally very picky about the people she chooses to trust, and I am very grateful to have been considered one of those people.” Dr. Emmy and her team will continue to monitor Riley’s health closely over the next few weeks and months. BPZOO continues to be a sanctuary for non-releasable, rehabilitated wildlife and is prepared to answer the call if the opportunity to provide a home for a young cougar arises. Nikki will be deeply missed by everyone at...

BPZOO Supports International Red Panda Conservation Initiatives

There is no arguing that BPZOO’s red panda family are among some of the most charismatic, adorable, and beloved animals in New Bedford. They are also working overtime as ambassadors to their species, inspiring the New Bedford community to care about red panda conservation efforts in the wild. Thanks to this community commitment, BPZOO has again been recognized as a Reforestation Sponsor of the Red Panda Network for a recent $5,000 donation.  This donation was made in honor of International Red Panda Day on September 17, 2023. A day of celebration and education, inspired guests donated an impressive $500 which contributed to the Zoo’s 2023 Reforestation Sponsorship. Founded in 2007, the Red Panda Network has become a world leader in efforts to save red pandas and their habitat. They use an integrated, landscape-level approach to conservation that is built on the support and participation of local communities. Their conservation programs extend to over one million acres of forest and 50% of Nepal’s red panda range. BPZOO has contributed $10,000 over the last two years helping to protect five acres of critical red panda habitat through purchasing, growing, and planting trees. The sponsorship also supports the salary of one local land steward in the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung (PIT) corridor in eastern Nepal a critical location for red panda conservation that has been heavily fragmented and degraded by deforestation as well as provides alternative and sustainable income opportunities for local families. With BPZOO’s continued support, the Red Panda Network will be able to establish a bio-bridge that connects the fragmented patches of Community Forest on the Nepal side with the protected areas in India. In 2019, Buttonwood Park Zoo unveiled its first ever red panda habitat. Since then, thanks to the success of our Conservation Donation Kiosk and the commitment of our staff, we have donated $17,000 to the Red Panda Network. Resident red pandas, Jacob, Marie, and their cubs, serve as ambassadors for their species and together we will continue to inspire our guests and work to protect wildlife and wild places. “BPZOO is proud to be part of a community that shares our deep commitment to conservation,” said Gary Lunsford, Director of Zoological Services. “It is through this shared value that we have again been recognized as a conservation partner to vital organizations like the Red Panda Network. I cannot thank our community enough for their efforts in making this happen.” About Red Pandas Red pandas are an endangered species endemic to the Himalayas in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma) and southern China. The global red panda population has declined by 50% in 20 years and there may be as few as 2,500 remaining in the wild. Habitat loss and fragmentation is the primary threat, and it is compounded by increasing human population, livestock herding, free-roaming dogs and disease, poaching and illegal trade, logging, world climate change, and inadequate enforcement of laws and regulations. While this sounds grim, there is hope for this species thanks to the dedication of AZA accredited facilities and their partner conservation organizations.

Creature Creations

Creature Creations (Ages 3+) Saturday, February 24th, 2024  12:30 – 1:30 pm & 2:30 – 3:30 pm Featured Animal: Canada lynx Join us for Creature Creations, an indoor painting class led by instructor Kathleen Patrick and a zoo educator. This fun program will introduce your child to a featured animal, either inside the classroom or at an animal habitat.   Members: $16 per ticket Non-Members: $27 per ticket   One ticket includes admission for one child and one accompanying adult. Only registered children can participate in the program. Additional admission tickets are available at the door. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Unregistered children (including siblings) can not attend. Purchase Tickets Questions? Contact the Education Department at (508) 991- 4556 ext.110 or email svanwormer@bpzoo.org.

BPZOO’s Seal Pod is Now at Three

BPZOO’s Seal Pod is Now at Three Pictured Above: Luna New Bedford, Massachusetts: The Buttonwood Park Zoo is thrilled to introduce two new female harbor seals to the New Bedford community – Luna, age two, and Conway, age one. These new residents arrived in early November from the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, NY, and have already bonded with long-time zoo resident, Blue. Blue was born at BPZOO in 2003 to Yellow, a female Atlantic harbor seal who passed away earlier this year, one week shy of her 40th birthday. Wanting to ensure companionship for Blue, as well as support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, Zoo leadership eagerly accepted the recommendation to bring Luna and Conway to BPZOO. Both seals were introduced to Blue straight away, and they quickly acclimated to their new home. “There were lots of nose-to-nose breath exchanges at first and then Luna immediately sat on Blue’s back – who was not bothered by it in the least,” said Kristy Kaeterle, BPZOO’s head Zookeeper. “We knew then that this was going to go well!” Kaeterle describes Conway, who had darker coloring and more obvious white markings, as a little seal with lots of personality. “She made herself at home immediately – she follows us around quite a bit and is very interested in the enrichment we offer. Luna is a little more reserved but is coming out of her shell more and more each day.” Luna, who was born on the night of a lunar eclipse and named after Luna Park on Coney Island, has a similar appearance to Blue – lighter grey with darker spots. Conway was named after the late Dr. William Conway, an iconic conservationist who retired as the president and general director of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that manages the Brooklyn Aquarium. BPZOO has cared for seals for over five decades and as a waterfront community, is dedicated to connecting visitors to the importance of marine mammal conservation. “The team is excited to welcome the new harbor seals to our pod at the Buttonwood Park Zoo. We are grateful to have this opportunity to create new zoo families through partnerships with our accredited zoo neighbors and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). ” said Gary Lunsford, Zoo Director. All three seals are currently visible in the seal habitat, located in the middle of the Zoo. Pictured Above: Conway About Atlantic Harbor Seals Seals are part of a group of mammals called pinnipeds, which translates to “fin-footed”. There are a total of 18 species in the Phocidae family. Harbor seals are part of the true seal family. All true seals have short forelimbs, or flippers. They also lack external ear flaps and instead have a small hole (opening to the ear canal) on either side of their head. Harbor seals live in temperate coastal habitats along the northern coasts of North America, Europe, and Asia. They weigh up to 285 pounds and measure up to 6 feet in length. In North America males are slightly larger than females, and seals in Alaska and the Pacific Ocean are generally larger than those found in the Atlantic Ocean. Harbor seals, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and are currently listed as Least Concern according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A Gift That Lasts All Year!  BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life. Join Our...

Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus

Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus Saturday & Sunday: December 9th, 10th, 16th, & 17th 10:00 am – 11:30 am: Members Only  |  1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Open to Public Celebrate the holiday season at Buttonwood Park Zoo with Cookies, Paws & Santa Claus! Join us for festive fun, where you can unleash your creativity by decorating your own sweet treats and partake in holiday magic at craft stations. Enjoy animal encounters, unlimited rides, and indulge in delicious hot cocoa—all while creating lasting memories with your family. This is a can’t-miss event, so be sure to bring your letter to Santa and share your holiday wishes as he makes a special visit to see his favorite friends! Jingle all the way to a day filled with joy and festive cheer. Member prices: Adults $8Children (ages 1-17): $12 Non-Member prices: Adults $11Children (ages 1-17): $15 Pre-registration is not required but highly recommended. Purchase Tickets Children’s ticket includes: 4 cookies to decorate – either on-site or to-go Free train and carousel rides (weather-dependent) Photos with Santa Animal Encounters Meet and Greet with Elsa Face painting Crafts Children under 1 are free.Adult tickets do not include cookies. Please choose your date and time carefully as tickets are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled.Zoo is open for general admission. Thank you to our sponsor! A Gift That Lasts All Year!  BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life. Join Our...

Fishbowl

Welcome to the Fishbowl – where the lanes are alive with the sound of strikes and spares! Join us for our 4th Annual Bowling Fundraiser, a fin-tastic event dedicated to supporting the Buttonwood Park Zoo and its mission of wildlife conservation. Bowlers of all ages and abilities are welcome. Team costumes are encouraged! Create Online Pledge Page Printable Pledge Sheet Form Sponsorship Form Sunday, March 3, 2024 1:00 – 3:00 pm | Wonder Bowl, New Bedford FISHBOWL IS SOLD OUT FOR 2024! THANK YOU  TO EVERYONE WHO SIGNED UP! You can still get involved! Sponsorship Opportunities: Support the zoo while gaining visibility for your business! Explore our sponsorship packages and discover how your company can be a vital part of this exciting event. Support a Team: Head over to our FUNraising website and make a donation to your favorite FishBowl team! Donation a Raffle Item: Do you own a small business?  Are you an artistsan looking to give back to your community? Help support FishBowl with an in-kind donation to our raffle!  Contact Katie Sherman, Development Manager, ksherman@bpzoo.org, for more information.  Every strike and spare supports the vital conservation efforts at the Buttonwood Park Zoo. Funds raised from Fishbowl directly contribute to habitat preservation, wildlife education, and the well-being of the animals in our care. Registration due by Monday, February 26, 2024. Questions? Please contact Katie Sherman, Development Manager, at ksherman@bpzoo.org or 508.991.4556, ext. 119. Photo Release: By signing up for the bowling fundraiser, you are agreeing to have your photo taken and used for marketing purposed by Buttonwood Park Zoo & Zoological Society. A portion of your entry is tax deductible. Tax ID: 04-2661467. HUGE THANKS TO OUR EVENT SPONSORS A Gift That Lasts All Year!  BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life. Join Our...