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The Buttonwood Park Zoo is proud to announce the birth of three American beaver babies, known as kits, an exciting addition to the Zoo’s diverse animal population. The kits, born May 16th to first time parents eight-year-old female Wicket and six-year-old male Justin, have already begun exploring their outdoor habitat. Beaver kits are born with their eyes open, their teeth fully erupted and capable of swimming – with one of them testing their skills at only fourteen days old!

BPZOO Veterinarian, Dr. Emmy Budas, examined all three kits on May 31st, determining they were all in good health and at healthy weights. The sex of each kit will be determined at a later date, as it will require an x-ray.

“All three beaver kits are growing at a fast and steady rate, ” reported Dr. Budas. “They have thick fuzzy coats, which helps keep them afloat when learning to swim. They are all beginning to explore eating solid foods, which is beyond adorable to watch. It has been such a joy seeing Wicket and Justin be so caring and attentive to their kits. This little family is definitely a heart-warming sight to see!”

While American beaver populations are stable in the wild, these new arrivals are excellent ambassadors for their species, giving BPZOO the opportunity to showcase the vital role beavers play in our ecosystems.

Acting as nature’s engineers, beavers are known for their extraordinary ability to transform their surroundings through activities such as dam building using sticks, mud, and stones. These dams create ponds and wetlands that support diverse ecosystems, serving as crucial habitats for fish, amphibians, birds, and many plant species, promoting biodiversity. The dams also play a critical role in maintaining water levels in streams and rivers. By trapping sediments and improving water quality, beaver dams contribute to healthier aquatic environments. The wetlands they create also act as carbon sinks, aiding in climate change mitigation. These industrious engineers are known to alter their environment the most compared to any other organism on Earth – except for humans.

Guests to BPZOO may be able to witness these natural dam building behaviors when visiting Wicket, Justin, and the three new kits this summer. Scheduled “Keeper Chats” may be held throughout the summer and provide an opportunity to learn more about beaver behaviors, their environmental impact, and BPZOO’s ongoing conservation efforts alongside them.

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is located at 425 Hawthorn St. in New Bedford and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, apart from Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Ticket prices for non-New Bedford Residents are $10 for adults/$6 for children 3-12; Ticket prices for New Bedford Residents are $7.50 for adults/$4.50 for children 3-12. Annual membership passes are also available.