Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021

Let’s Do Our Part

Every day is Earth Day for the BPZOO and our supporters!

As we all do our part to protect and preserve habitats and ecosystems by our actions, collectively we are making an impact. This year as we continue to celebrate virtually, we are asking you to share pictures of how you help the environment in your daily lives.

Send pictures to contest@bpzoo.org during the month of April 🌎 and be entered to win prizes!

By submitting a picture, you are allowing the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society
to share your picture on social media.

If you wish to keep your picture private, please
clearly state so in your email. 

The first 100 submissions will receive an AZA Party for the Planet kit. Head to the Zoo for a visit and pickup your kit at the front desk!

Each kit is packed in a reusable produce mesh produce bag. Contents include:
•  Information card explaining contents of the bag
•  Garden trowel for digging in the dirt
•  Nature journal to record observations in nature
•  Window Cling as a reminder to cover windows to prevent bird strikes
•  Post Card for families to thank a person or business that is helping to save wild places for wildlife
•  Lights out for Wildlife light switch sticker
•  3 SAFE trading cards; Songbirds, Monarchs, and Sea Turtles

Plus, for every picture you send we will enter you into a raffle for a BPZOO reusable kit – everything you need to be plastic free in 2021! This pack includes a reusable straw, utensil travel kit, water bottle and a BPZOO t-shirt.

Looking for inspiration?
Join Team SouthCoast for the EcoChallenge for some great examples of how you can help the environment every day.

Earth Month Ecochallenge: Drawdown is a solutions-oriented engagement program focused on individuals taking action to reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. The actions in the Ecochallenge connect to global solutions highlighted by Project Drawdown, a research-based organization that is leading the efforts to map, measure, model, and describe existing, amazing solutions to climate change.

Participate in a Southcoast Shoreline Clean Up:

🌎 Saturday April 10th @ 1:30pm Fort Phoenix, Fairhaven- registration link

🌎 Saturday April 17th @ 9am – 12pm Quequechan Rail Trail Park – registration link

🌎 Thursday, April 22nd – Shingle Island River Reserve – registration link

🌎 Saturday April 24th @ 11:30am Palmers Island & West Beach, New Bedford – registration link

New Species at BPZOO

New Species at BPZOO

BPZOO Debuts New Species this Spring

Winter is in full effect in New England, but BPZOO is looking ahead towards spring – and looking forward to introducing three brand new species to Zoo guests when it finally arrives! These three unique species were sent to New Bedford as part of collaborative programs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo participates in many collaborative programs, including AZA Species Survival Plans (SSP). The goal of an SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

Currently residing in BPZOO’s innovative Rainforests Rivers & Reefs building, which showcases South American primates, birds, reptiles and fish among four mixed species rotational habitats, is a pair of Ma’s night monkeys, also known as owl monkeys. Alexander, 10, and Supressa, 7, are two of only five Ma’s night monkeys at just three AZA accredited institutions. The pair came to BPZOO from a conservancy in Miami, Florida and have been acclimating to their new home since their arrival. Ma’s night monkeys are nocturnal primates with short, dense and soft fur. They have characteristically large eyes to aid in their nocturnal lifestyle and their hands are well developed for grasping.

Hailing from north central Amazonian neotropics of northern Peru and western Brazil in South America, Ma’s night monkeys form small groups of two to five individuals who are all directly related and remain in constant contact with each other through a sequence of squeaks, whistles, and trills. Typically found in lowland tropical rainforests, Ma’s night monkeys occupy the upper levels of the canopy at night, foraging for fruits and flowers. They are listed as Vulnerable on IUCN’s Red List due to habitat loss in Peru through conversion of forests for rice cultivation, pasture and, more recently, palm oil.

Another species debuting at BPZOO this spring is a pair of southern screamers. Also known as crested screamers, these long-legged, non-migratory birds are most closely related to ducks, geese and swans – although one would not know that just by looking at them!

Native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, southern screamers have large feet and long toes that aid them in navigating the marshes, lakes, lagoons and flooded grasslands that they typically call home. Their large feet also lack webbing, although they are still very capable swimmers.

The trumpet-like call of a southern screamer, which has helped them earn their name, carries for several miles and warns other birds of approaching danger. Between their loud, far-reaching call, and the two sharp spurs they carry on each wing, southern screamers are the “guard birds” of their wetland habitat. As the weather warms, they can be seen on guard in the Chilean pudu habitat that opened in the summer of 2020, opposite of the Asian elephant habitat.

“At first glance, many think this incredible species with their long, scaly legs, large bony spurs on the edge of their wings, and cautious gait look pre-historic. The Zoo is home to many species of waterbirds, but the screamers are definitely visually unique,” said Lovett.

There are 81 southern screamers in 41 AZA accredited institutions – including the pair now residing here at BPZOO – and while their conservation status is currently listed as Least Concern, they are under increasing pressure from wetland habitat destruction.

The third and final species that will debut at BPZOO this spring is also the most critically endangered – the Panamanian golden frog. These four females, who arrived recently from the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee, are set to take up residence in one of the terrarium habitats in the admissions’ lobby of the Zoo.

Panamanian golden frogs exhibit a unique behavior only seen in a few frog species called ‘semaphore’ – a type of sign language – to signal to each other. They will “wave” their hands or raise and move their feet to defend their territory, try to attract a mate, or even to greet one another.

Panamanian golden frogs are critically endangered and it is believed that they may possibly be extinct in the wild. Scientists believe that an infectious disease called chytridiomycosis, coupled with pressure from illegal pet trade have caused the drastic decline in population – an estimated 80% in the last 10 years. Habitat loss due to deforestation and stream toxification from agricultural chemicals have also put pressure on this species. Panamanian golden frogs haven’t been seen in the wild since 2009 and if a population remains, it may include fewer than 50 mature individuals.

“The community is mostly aware of the Zoo’s efforts to conserve iconic species like Asian elephants and red pandas, but many smaller, less known species including the Panamanian golden frogs are at significant risk of extinction in the wild and are equally the focus of accredited zoos and aquariums of AZA,” stated Lovett.

Wildlife Education Series Returns

Wildlife Education Series Returns

Wildlife Education Series Returns

Join us on Zoom for two incredible talks about two magnificent species.

April 1, 2021 at 7:00pm  – Care and Conservation of Elephants in Asia

April 28, 2021 at 7:00pm – Preserving a Future for Polar Bears Across the Arctic

Care and Conservation of Elephants in Asia

In this presentation Dr. Susan Mikota, Director of Veterinary Services and Research for Elephant Care International (ECI) will discuss the status of captive and wild elephants in Asia with a focus on ECI projects in select countries. ECI programs focus on Care (healthcare and welfare of individuals and groups), Conservation (mitigation of disease where captive and wild elephant interface) and Capacity Building (through training veterinarians and providing technical support, equipment, and supplies).

This programming is FREE. When registering, please consider making a donation to ensure we can stay connected; a portion of these donations will go to the speaker’s organization.

About Dr. Mikota:
Dr. Susan Mikota is the Director of Veterinary Programs and Research for Elephant Care International, a non-profit organization that she also co-founded. Elephant Care International is dedicated to the healthcare, welfare, and conservation of elephants and to facilitating data sharing among elephant professionals. She has written numerous scientific articles and book chapters and co-edited Biology, Medicine, and Surgery of Elephants, the first modern veterinary textbook dedicated to elephants. Dr. Mikota worked for the Audubon Zoo/Audubon Institute for almost 20 years, before moving to Indonesia for 3 years to care for elephants in government training centers on Sumatra. Dr. Mikota has also worked in Nepal, Myanmar, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. She is a member of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group, the IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group and the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group (acewg.org). In 2017 she became a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare, a specialty acknowledged by the American Veterinary Medical Association.


Preserving a Future for Polar Bears Across the Arctic

Polar Bears International (PBI) is the only conservation organization solely dedicated to wild polar bears. Through research, education, and advocacy we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic and its connection to our global climate. Join us to learn more about leading polar bear research and education presented by Alysa McCall, PBI Director of Conservation Outreach and Marissa Krouse, PBI Program Manager.

This programming is FREE. When registering, please consider making a donation to ensure we can stay connected; a portion of these donations will go to the speaker’s organization.

About Alysa McCall, Director of Conservation Outreach:
Alysa has a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Animal Biology from Thompson Rivers University and an M.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Alberta where her thesis focused on the polar bears of western Hudson Bay. She gained hands-on experience with polar bears from multiple fall and spring field seasons in Tuktoyaktuk and Churchill, and she has been heavily involved in the collaring and tracking of Hudson Bay polar bears. Prior to joining PBI’s staff, Alysa volunteered for several years in multiple capacities, including being a panelist on the Tundra Connections program and assisting with the Polar Bear Tracker. She is passionate about science education and polar bear conservation, and is dedicated to ensuring that future generations inherit a healthy planet. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon.

About Marissa Krouse, Program Manager:
Marissa has a B.A. in psychology with a focus in animal behavior. She worked in a zoo setting for nine years, specifically in the fields of conservation education and animal husbandry. Her role at PBI includes coordinating our Arctic Ambassador Center network, Education and Outreach campaigns, and leading our annual Climate Alliance training sessions for zoo staff, helping them to communicate effectively. She is the co-author of a Polar Bear Diet Trial publication in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (2014) and has published in the American Association of Zookeepers National Conference Proceedings (2010, 2011). Marissa is a motivated conservationist who values teamwork and is dedicated to helping others lead their communities. She believes in the legacy she will leave behind and works to leave a healthy planet for future generations.

Wildlife Education Series 2021 is proudly sponsored by

BPZOO Mourning the Loss of Canada Lynx

BPZOO Mourning the Loss of Canada Lynx

Recognized as the oldest living Canada lynx, Calgary had called BPZOO home since 2009.

At 20 years and seven months, Calgary was recognized as the oldest Canada lynx living at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility – and the second longest lived lynx in the historical population.

Cal, as he was affectionately called, was beloved by his zookeepers. They remember him as a laid back cat; very agreeable with training and husbandry exercises, but aloof when he wanted to be – only becoming interested in something just as his keeper was ready to move on.  Calgary was regularly seen in his habitat lazily snuggling in one of his elevated den boxes with his seven year-old mate Sylvie. Zookeepers knew his love of wild prey items, often acquired from local game officials, would always result in him demonstrating his wild cat behaviors.  Additionally, Cal was fond of keepers spreading scent enrichment throughout his habitat and he seemed to most enjoy spices including curry and paprika.  His caretakers already miss hearing his loud call during the winter months, observing his interaction with enrichment and seeing the pair curled up together in the morning.

Calgary’s advanced age meant that he required extremely specialized care that included differentiated diets, additional health screenings and routine medications.

“Our dedicated animal care, veterinary, and curatorial staff diligently work to meet the husbandry, behavioral, welfare, and veterinary needs at all stages of an animal’s life – from our youngest to our most geriatric animals,” said Keith Lovett, Director of the Buttonwood Park Zoo in a letter to the community earlier this year. “Geriatric animal care is an area that BPZOO dedicates many resources to and has had much success in.  The almost record-breaking longevity of Cal is a testament to the high quality and expertise of care provided here at the Zoo.  Zoo staff will dearly miss Cal, but they take solace in knowing how impactful his presence at the Zoo was in inspiring guests to appreciate his species and to protect natural environments of North America.”

Dr. Erica Lipanovich, BPZOO’s staff veterinarian, examined Calgary on Saturday, December 26, 2020 after his caretakers noticed a lack of stability in his back legs and reported that he was not interested in offered food. “During his examination it was determined that Calgary was suffering from end stage kidney disease as well as there being evidence of potential cancer. Due to his poor prognosis and advanced age, the decision was then made to humanely euthanize him.”

Calgary will be deeply missed.

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. BPZOO will continue to work with AZA’s Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan program 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.

Pepper and Jack Welcome Twins

Pepper and Jack Welcome Twins

If there is one thing that can spark joy in 2020, it’s a baby – or in the case of Pepper and Jack, an adult pair of bearded emperor tamarin who call Buttonwood Park Zoo home – two babies! Four year-old Pepper, BPZOO’s female bearded emperor tamarin, gave birth to her second set of twins on October 13, 2020. These babies came one year, almost to the day, of their older siblings Brie and Gouda, who were born at BPZOO on October 20, 2019.

While Zookeepers were able to track Pepper’s first pregnancy through weight checks, they knew much more about her second pregnancy, thanks to the ability to perform an ultrasound. This important veterinary monitoring takes time, trust and skill to develop and the process began the moment Pepper arrived from the Twycross Zoo in the United Kingdom in 2018. Positive reinforcement training for husbandry and veterinary management allows BPZOO staff to provide the highest quality of animal care and it ranges from something as simple as an animal approaching a keeper to take food to scale training, crate training, injection training and beyond. With respect and trust between the animal, and their keeper, the capabilities are endless in what can be achieved – including performing ultrasounds on a bearded emperor tamarin throughout her second pregnancy!

“With the opening of the Zoo’s Rainforests, Rivers & Reefs exhibit in 2017, the Zoo has been very successful in creating stimulating, natural environments for its many species of small South American primates and this has resulted in several important births“, said Keith Lovett, BPZOO Director and Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) New World Primate Taxonomic Advisory Group (NWPTAG). “All of the primates at the Zoo are managed as part of AZA Species Survival Plans including the bearded emperor tamarins and these births will help improve the genetic diversity of this population of primates that continues to decline in the wild.”

Native to Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru, these small, tree dwelling monkeys reside in lowland tropical rainforest, typically between 80 – 95 feet elevation and their diet consists of tree sap, fruits, insects, and eggs. While they are not currently endangered, rapid deforestation, infrastructure construction and popularity within the illegal pet trade may threaten this species in the near future. Currently, there are only 31 bearded emperor tamarins at 10 AZA institutions – including the 6 residing in New Bedford.

Elephant Appreciation Day

Elephant Appreciation Day

Join us for Elephant Appreciation Day on Saturday and Sunday (9/19 & 9/20) as we celebrate Ruth and Emily’s 62nd and 56th birthdays! Stop by the Asian elephant habitat at 10:00am or 3:00pm during the Elephant Keeper Chat to wish Ruth and Emily a BIG Happy Birthday. Our dedicated elephant keepers will be available to answer questions while offering these pretty pachyderms some special birthday surprises.

Did you know – Ruth is the 3rd oldest Asian elephant and Emily is the 9th oldest Asian elephant in an AZA accredited facility? Their vitality and health in their advanced age is a testament to the high level of care we provide for these magnificent animals. It is an honor and a privilege to provide a home for these beautiful elephants and we welcome the community to join us in celebrating them!

  • If you would like to bring Emily and Ruth a birthday gift, donations of unopened packages of unsalted shelled peanuts, yogurt covered raisins, and dried fruit will be accepted on their behalf.
  • You can make a donation in their honor that goes directly towards Asian elephant conservation.
  • Or you can symbolically adopt an elephant through our new Adopt an Animal program.

If you can’t make it to the Zoo, we will also be celebrating with a Facebook Live video on Saturday at 10:00am – tune in to our Facebook page and watch our special girls enjoy birthday treats and festive enrichment.