Wildlife Education Series

Wildlife Education Series

Wildlife Education Series

Join us on Zoom for an enlightening discussion about beluga whale research and exciting advances in animal science!

Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 6:00pm – Learning from Whale Snot!

Learning from Whale Snot!

In this virtual talk, Dr. Justin Richard, Assistant Professor at University of Rhode Island, will talk about beluga whale research! Specifically, Dr. Richard will share the critical research that occurs at aquariums to develop minimally-invasive tools to study beluga whales, and how we can explore beluga whale biology in new ways by combining behavioral research with physiological research. Learn how exhaled breath samples can be used to study beluga whale genetic relationships, maturity status, and even help detect pregnancy!

Dr. Richard’s interest in marine mammals developed at Mystic Aquarium, where he was a beluga whale trainer for nearly 10 years before entering a PhD program in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology at URI.  Now a member of the faculty in the department of Animal and Veterinary Science, he teaches courses relating to animal behavior, marine mammals, and zoo and aquarium animal care and management.  His research takes an integrative approach to studying behavior in zoos and aquariums to fill knowledge gaps about animals and behaviors that are logistically difficult to study in the wild to advance conservation efforts.  His research program emphasizes undergraduate participation, providing opportunities for interested students to engage in authentic learning experiences in animal science.

This programming is FREE. When registering, please consider making a donation to ensure we can stay connected.

Party for the Planet

Party for the Planet

Let’s Do Our Part

Party for the Planet is the largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America! More than 100 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums across the country celebrate with activities, giveaways, and special events.

Join us at the Buttonwood Park Zoo on Saturday, April 23rd from 11 am to 2 pm when we will offer our visitors the opportunity to explore, learn, and play as 20+ local organizations and businesses come together to celebrate green, sustainable living and and teach us how to make choices that will ensure the health of our planet for generations to come. Don’t forget to bring in any unwanted electronics (see details below).

To add to the fun, the Zoo will have live music, a raffle, fun games, face painting, an ambulance onsite, Earth Day-inspired enrichment demonstrations with our animals, and so much more! It’s a party for the planet, come celebrate with us!

Connect with Nature

Connecting with nature is healthy for us mentally and physically.

Spring into Action by tracking the monarch butterfly migration north from their overwintering grounds in Mexico to coastal California through the United States and Canada. To capture how monarchs recolonize the breeding areas, report first sightings of adults, the first emergence of milkweeds, and first eggs and larvae to Journey North. Already seen your “first” spring observations? No problem! Please report all observations after these “firsts” to Journey North
as well. Tag AZA during registration by adding AZA Party for the Planet in the comment section of your report!

Create Pollinator Spaces in your backyard! AZA is partnering with The National Wildlife Federation to expand native habitats across AZA-accredited facilities and their members. NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat® program helps to create and restore habitat and wildlife populations. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife. Spring into Action with AZA and NWF in creating native habitats near you!

Electronic Waste Drop-off

Members of the community can bring in any unwanted electronic item during Party for the Planet and we will see to it that it is properly recycled by an electronic recycling firm; one free child admission per party/family into Party for the Planet with E-Waste drop-off! 

All electronic items can be taken at no charge, with the exception of tube TVs. Those require a $10 disposal fee. Other items collected at no charge are cell phones, stereo equipment, desktop or laptop computers, printers, scanners, tablets, household appliances (toasters, blenders, etc), as well as microwaves and other consumer electronics.

Join a Clean-up!

Here are some local clean-up meetups in collaboration with Be the Solution to Pollution:

🌎 April 3rd from 9-12 at Fairhaven Bike Path (meeting behind the community center)
🌎 April 9th at 10 am at West Beach, New Bedford (in association with Nativity Prep)
🌎 April 25th at 9 am at Fort Phoenix, Fairhaven

Name Our Sloth!

Name Our Sloth!

Baby Sloth Needs a Name

Here’s an opportunity of a lifetime. We are inviting YOU to help us name our four-month-old baby Hoffman’s two-toed sloth. Born on June 22, 2021, to first time parents Sandy and Bernardo, this cutie is the very first sloth to be born here in our 127-year history.

Our friends and followers have suggested some names (over 500 to be exact) and together with our naming committee which included local radio personality Michael Rock from FUN 107, five names were selected to be put to a community vote!

For just $1.00 you can vote AND support sloth conservation. For every dollar donation, your name is entered in for the chance to win. The winner will be selected at random and receive a private meet and greet with the baby sloth inside the Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs building.

The name who receives the highest donation wins!

Name options for the baby sloth:

  1.  Arlo
  2. Moby
  3. Lento
  4. Herman
  5. Ziggy

Or text SLOTHNAME to 41444

For a good cause!
The proceeds will go directly towards sloth care here at the Zoo and conservation in the wild.
BPZOO will be supporting The Sloth Institute, an in-situ conservation organization in Costa Rica that works to enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of hand-raised and injured sloths while also conducting vital research, conservation and education programs to ensure their survival.

DID YOU KNOW: There are six species of sloths that live in the tropical forests of Central and South America, ranging from critically endangered to least concern.

Although listed as least concern according to the IUCN, in parts of their range Hoffman’s two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) are declining due to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Electrocution from electrical wires and death as a result of increasing roads also pose a threat to these slow-moving mammals. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets as part of the tourist industry. This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild population.



BPZOO Rescues Two Fawns

BPZOO Rescues Two Fawns

Introducing Autumn and Olive

The Buttonwood Park Zoo has a long history of providing forever homes to orphaned and injured native wildlife, thanks to a strong partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife – and 2021 has proven to be no exception.

In early summer months, MassWildlife placed a young white-tailed deer fawn at BPZOO, who was believed to have been orphaned at less than ten days old in South Dartmouth. Weeks later, she was joined by a second fawn found alone in Western Massachusetts. They are the first white-tailed deer to inhabit BPZOO since 2017.

The two fawns, now affectionately referred to as Autumn and Olive, were only weeks old when they arrived at BPZOO and required hand-rearing by animal care staff. After approximately two months of bottle feeding, weight checks and completing the required quarantine, the fawns are ready to venture into a temporary habitat near their future home in the Zoo’s bison habitat.

In discussing the new arrivals, Zoo Director, Keith Lovett stated that “as part of our mission related to environmental education and the conservation of wildlife, the Zoo is proud to provide homes to many native species that are injured or orphaned in the wild. The Zoo, who has a long history in managing deer, will work to educate our guests on the impact humans can have on local wildlife and actions that can be taken to minimize our imprint on the environment.”

Eventually, Autumn and Olive will move into the bison habitat, a roughly ½ acre space that the fawns will share with Sarah the bison and approximately 16 species of waterfowl.  For now, the two fawns can be viewed in the side yard to the right of the entrance plaza.

About White-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer can survive in a variety of terrestrial habitats, from the big woods of northern Maine to the deep saw grass and hammock swamps of Florida. Ideal white-tailed deer habitat would contain dense thickets (in which to hide and move about) and edges (which furnish food). White-tailed deer fawns nurse for 8 to 10 weeks before they are weaned. Young males leave their mother after one year, but young females often stay with their mother for two years. Nervous and shy animals, white-tailed deer wave their tails characteristically from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. They are extremely agile and may bound at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. White-tailed deer are also good swimmers and often enter large streams and lakes to escape predators, insects or to visit islands.

Junior Duck Stamp On Display

Junior Duck Stamp On Display

This Artwork is Just Ducky

On your next trip, stop into the Wildlife Education Center and enjoy U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s Junior Duck Stamp artwork from students in Massachusetts. Now on display through mid-September.

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is an art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program encourages students to explore their natural world, invites them to investigate biology and wildlife management principles and challenges them to express and share what they have learned with others.

The winning artwork from a national art contest serves as the design for the Junior Duck Stamp, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produces annually. One hundred percent of the revenue from the sale of Junior Duck stamps goes to support recognition and environmental education activities for students who participate in the program.

What is a Duck Stamp?

In 1934, President Franklin D Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or Duck Stamp Act), and an increasingly concerned nation took firm action to stop the destruction of wetlands vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. Under the act, all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and over must annually buy and carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – better know today as a Federal Duck Stamp.

The artwork for the stamp is chosen through the Federal Duck Stamp Art contest. While waterfowl hunters are required to purchase them, stamp collectors, birders, nature photographers and other outdoor and art enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps as collector’s items and to help protect wildlife habitat.

BPZOO Welcomes a New Lynx

BPZOO Welcomes a New Lynx

Meet, Hutch!

The Buttonwood Park Zoo recently welcomed a new resident to the seven-acre campus. Hutch, a nine-year old Canada lynx, came to BPZOO in March from the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA and is now residing in the Lynx habitat, just beyond the Bison pasture.

Sent to New Bedford based on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), Hutch is slowly being introduced to female Canada lynx, Sylvie, who has called BPZOO home since 2014. The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage lynx populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure a healthy and genetically diverse population.

Hutch was born in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Canada in 2011. A year later, he was transferred to the Stone Zoo, where he has resided until his match with Sylvie. The recommendation came a few months after the passing of beloved Calgary, a male Canada lynx who called BPZOO home for 11 years. At 20 years and seven months, Calgary was recognized as the oldest Canada lynx living in an AZA facility.

As Hutch completed his required 30-day quarantine, he has bonded with his caretakers and has been adjusting to his new home quite well. Hutch is described as a laid back and mellow cat, who has been very patient during his introductions with Sylvie and quite vocal – Canada lynx are known to have unique vocalizations.

“We have a long, successful history managing this northern small cat species,” said BPZOO Director Keith Lovett. “We are excited to welcome Hutch to the Zoo. We are hopefully that in the near future Hutch and Sylvie will produce kittens which will significantly add to the sustainability of this population in AZA.”

About Canada lynx:
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) are listed as Threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act due to lower population size and inadequate protection of habitat on Federal lands. Within the northern boreal forest regions of North America, they are listed as Least Concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature as they are more widespread and abundant. Their range coincides with that of their main prey, the snowshoe hare.

There are currently 62 Canada lynx residing in 25 AZA accredited institutions, including the two here at BPZOO.