Summer 2018, the zoo will open a new habitat for one of the most charismatic and beautiful mammal species in the world, the red panda. This new habitat, located at the entrance of the Asian elephant yard, will allow guests to become immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of this playful, bamboo-eating mammal. Red panda are indigenous to temperate forests in central Asia including China and Nepal.
This tree-dwelling mammal’s diet mainly consists of bamboo; as a result, the Zoo will be starting a community bamboo growing and harvesting program. Got bamboo? Fill out our donation form.
In the wild, red panda are considered endangered mostly due to habitat loss and poaching. The Buttonwood Park Zoo will partner with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Red Panda Species Survival Plan (SSP) as part of a breeding program focused on maximizing genetic diversity. The goal of this SSP program is to maintain a sustainable captive population of red panda to safeguard against their wild extinction.
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CLIMATE CHANGE is a major threat to wildlife worldwide as it drastically alters the habitats they call home. For certain species, these radical changes in climate can impact populations causing some to become endangered or threatened. Without significant action to reduce our fossil fuel dependence, climate change could become the single most important factor to affect wildlife since the emergence of mankind.
The topic of climate change can be difficult to talk about which is why zoos and aquariums are banding together to make it easier. The National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) was founded to work with educators at informal science learning centers, like zoos, to help them spread understandable information about our changing climate.
The Buttonwood Park Zoo’s education team was trained by NNOCCI in the spring of 2015. Since then Curator of Education, Carrie Hawthorne, has co-facilitated several 6-month NNOCCI workshops. By explaining chains of human activities that contribute to climate change and focusing on community-level solutions, our team hopes to encourage visitors to consider ways they can be part of the solution.
A recent Penn State University study tested the effects on visitors to zoos and parks participating in the NNOCCI program and found that such guests subsequently discussed the topic more frequently than those that visited similar non-participating institutions. These exciting findings suggest that parks and zoos can be effective tools to enlighten the public about a complex problem and spark much-needed conversations.
Molly, the Buttonwood Zoo’s coyote has found an unusual companion in Clyde, a Brittany spaniel. The two were first teamed up to encourage Molly to be more comfortable while taking walks around the Zoo as part of her role in our Animal Ambassador program.
Molly and Clyde have formed a great bond and enjoy exploring the Zoo together. Molly is more relaxed and more adventurous on her enriching walkabouts, thanks to Clyde.