BPZOO Participates in National Waterfowl Conservation Efforts
3 Trumpeter Swans started the next leg of their journey towards
re-introduction to the wild
New Bedford, Massachusetts: Any regular visitor to the Buttonwood Park Zoo knows that no trip is complete until they have the opportunity to feed the ducks. Twenty-five cents per handful, these dispensers, perched along the long wooden bridge just inside the Zoo, are playing a major role in waterfowl conservation across North America.
Most recently, BPZOO participated in a comprehensive reintroduction program between Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Trumpeter Swan Society, by caring for a trio of young swans from 2021 until early spring 2023. Now fully grown, they were ready to begin the next leg of their journey towards reintroduction – a “soft release” in a protected area in Idaho. During this phase of the program, they will join with other zoo swans to become less habituated to humans and more acclimated to the wild environment. In 2024, the entire flock, or bevy, will be tagged and released in south central Oregon.
Once hunted almost to extinction – by the late 1800’s Oregon had lost all its trumpeter swans – a shift towards conservation and the dedication from so many agencies and facilities has made trumpeter swans a success story in several states where they once flourished long ago.
“BPZOO is proud to have played a role in the saving of this species,” said BPZOO Director Gary Lunsford. “Our participation in this conservation success story was made possible by the generosity of the many, many families over the years who have supported wildlife conservation through their visit to BPZOO.”
In addition to providing funding to waterfowl conservation efforts, BPZOO participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Trumpeter Swans. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild. The three trumpeter swans who briefly called BPZOO home, will hopefully contribute to a growing bevy in the wild.