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BPZOO Supports International Red Panda Conservation Initiatives

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.

BPZOO’s Seal Pod is Now at Three

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.

Keeper Kyler with Yellow the Harbor Seal

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.

Art Gone Wild

Art Gone Wild

AN ANIMAL INSPIRED ONLINE AUCTION

The auction opens on Monday, November 27th, and closes on Monday, December 11th, 2023 at 9:00pm.

BPZOO’s Art Gone Wild online auction, now in its 10th year, features over 35 unique art creations by your favorite zoo artists.

Calling all animal aficionados and art enthusiasts! Get ready to embark on a wild journey as we unveil the Art Gone Wild online auction, celebrating its 10th year of unleashing the creativity of our talented zoo residents.

Our artists in residence are not your typical painters—some use paws, claws, tails, and scales to create masterpieces that are truly one-of-a-kind. It’s a wild world out there, and our zoo animals are ready to showcase their artistic prowess!

Join us as we present over 35 unique art creations crafted by your favorite zoo artists. Each masterpiece comes meticulously wrapped in plastic and includes a card, a photo of the artist (yes, the animal!), a certificate of authenticity, and some fascinating fun facts about the creators behind the brushstrokes.

But here’s the best part—when you bid on these incredible works of art, you’re not just adding a unique piece to your collection; you’re supporting the future of wildlife. All proceeds from Art Gone Wild go directly to fueling the Zoo’s education and conservation programs.

So, let your love for art and animals collide in this wild online auction, where every bid makes a difference!

Art Gone Wild

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 BPZOO Provides Home to Orphaned Black Bear Cubs 

 BPZOO Provides Home to Orphaned Black Bear Cubs 

BPZOO Provides Home to Orphaned Black Bear Cubs

New Bedford, Massachusetts: The Buttonwood Park Zoo has a deep, rich history of caring for black bears and is once again providing a home for an adorable pair of cubs recently orphaned in the wild.

BPZOO has been without black bears since last September, with the passing of 23-year-old Toby. He, along with two females Amy and Ursula, had lived at BPZOO since 2000.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacted BPZOO in late June, inquiring if there was space for two cubs who had been orphaned because of bear/human conflicts in Homer and Eagle River in Alaska.

“Providing a home to orphaned, non-releasable wildlife is paramount to our mission,” said Zoo Director Gary Lunsford. “Given that BPZOO has been caring for black bears since our inception in 1894, we jumped at the opportunity to work with officials in Alaska to provide a forever home to these cubs in need.”

The two cubs, an approximately eight-month-old male, and a seven-month-old female, arrived at BPZOO the last week in August and are currently quarantining under the watchful eyes of BPZOO vet staff.

“We are already getting a clear picture of their individual personalities,” said BPZOO Veterinarian

Emmy Budas. “He is the sweet and gentle type – gently taking treats from us, while she is showing us her sassy side. Both cubs are eating well and appear to be in excellent health.”

After spending time getting to know their personalities, zookeepers and veterinarian staff carefully considered names for the cubs. With a nod to their Alaskan homeland, the male cub has been named Moose, the official state land mammal, and the female Oona, named after an inland lake, not far from Juneau.

Moose and Oona will remain in quarantine for approximately 30 days to ensure they are in good health and to give them time to adjust to their new environment.

Black bears have been making local headlines this summer, spotted lumbering through towns on the South Coast and South Shore. As their natural habitats here, and in Alaska, continue to shrink, bear/human conflict increases with detrimental implications for the animals. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, offers a variety of resources on their website to prevent conflicts with black bears, including limiting food sources, protecting pets, crops, bees, and livestock with electric fences, or removing bird feeders.

“We look forward to introducing the new bears to the community,” Lunsford said. “We expect this will happen sometime towards the end of September. In the meantime, please do your part to keep bears wild. You should never feed or otherwise approach a wild bear. Be respectful of nature so that we can protect it together.”

About Black Bears

American black bears are one of eight species of bears found around the world. Common across North America, they are currently present in 40 U.S. states, 12 provinces and territories of Canada, and 6 states of northern Mexico. Loss of habitat and unregulated hunting resulted in the extirpation of black bears across large portions of their range by the early 1900s. While the loss of forest cover has eliminated black bears from many areas, their numbers are increasing. Climate change seems to have enabled black bears to range farther north. American black bears are the smallest of the three bear species in North America, ranging from 200 – 600 pounds, with males being significantly larger. The average life expectancy for American black bears is 20 years.

A Gift That Lasts All Year! 

BPZOO Memberships make a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life.

Elephant Appreciation Day

Elephant Appreciation Day

JOIN US FOR A BIG CELEBRATION

Elephant Appreciation Day at BPZOO is happening on Sunday, October 1st, 2023, and we welcome you to join us in honoring and celebrating Ruth and Emily!

Can you believe that Ruth is turning 65 and Emily is turning 59!? Stop by the Asian elephant habitat for educational activities from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, with a Happy Birthday sing-a-long & special enrichment happening at 1:00 pm.

Did you know – Ruth and Emily are among the oldest Asian elephants in North America? It is an honor and a privilege to provide a home for these beautiful elephants and we welcome the community to join us in honoring them!

If you would like to bring Emily and Ruth a special treat, donations of unopened packages of unsalted shelled peanuts, yogurt-covered raisins, and dried fruit will be accepted on their behalf.

The Asian elephants you know and love living in zoos and human care serve as ambassadors to inspire people to care about their preservation.

Asian elephant numbers are 10 times lower than those of African elephants. Worldwide, the estimate is that only 40,000 – 50,000 remain. Lack of habitat, competition for resources, and development have left about a third of all Asian elephants reliant on some form of managed care. We need to find ways for humans and elephants to peacefully coexist to save the species. AZA facilities and affiliated conservation organizations are doing just this, in order to ensure this magnificent species will remain for generations to come!

You can make a donation in their honor that goes directly towards Asian elephant conservation.

 

BPZOO is dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places.

International Red Panda Day

International Red Panda Day

BPZOO CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL RED PANDA DAY 

Join us for International Red Panda Day at the Zoo on Sunday, September 17th to learn about our red pandas, Jacob, Marie, and the cubs and raise awareness about this beautiful, yet endangered species.

Here is the schedule of all the fun:

🐾 11 am – 2 pm: Face Painting, Activity with a BPZOO Educator, and Raffle Tickets for Red Panda Painting

🐾 11 am: Painting with the Pandas

🐾 12 pm: Cubs’ Gender Reveal

🐾 1 pm: Cubs’ Name Reveal

🐾 2 pm: Red Panda Keeper Chat and Raffle Drawing

Let’s see how much we can raise for red pandas! Donate to the Zoo’s conservation donation fund during your visit and be entered into a raffle to win a Red Panda Painting! For every $5.00 donation, you’ll receive one raffle entry. These donations must be made in person on September 17th to be entered.

What are we doing to protect this endangered species?

BPZOO is proud to partner with the Red Panda Network, the world leader in efforts to protect red pandas and their habitat, as a Reforestation Sponsor. Our most recent donation of $5,000 will support the land purchase, reforestation, and the salary of a local land steward for one hectare of red panda habitat 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.

Red pandas are unique, important and unfortunately endangered. There may be as few as 2,500 red pandas remaining in the wild. Red pandas are a flagship species. Their conservation has landscape-level impacts, and like an umbrella, the entire ecoregion — its forests and wildlife — are protected when red pandas are conserved.

 

BPZOO is dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places.