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BPZOO Welcomes Three Beaver Kits

BPZOO Welcomes Three Beaver Kits

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.

BPZOO Launches Live-Streaming Web Cam

BPZOO Launches Live-Streaming Web Cam

New Bedford, Massachusetts: For the last five years, guests at the Buttonwood Park Zoo have been delighted by the adorable antics of the red pandas that call the Zoo home. Now, thanks to a partnership with local IT company, Micro Technology Solutions, Inc in Fairhaven, those same red pandas are making their mark on the world wide web. Check it out by clicking here.

BPZOO’s “Red Panda Cam”, streaming live on bpzoo.org, showcases three red pandas – Jacob, Marie, and Sprout. Jacob has the distinction of being the first red panda at BPZOO and was introduced to the South Coast when his habitat opened in May of 2019. Marie arrived not long after the habitat opening, based on a recommendation as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). She gave birth to her first cub, Kodo, in 2020, and in 2023 welcomed Pip and Sprout. Kodo, whose name is a Nepalese word for grain, left BPZOO in 2022 on her own breeding recommendation. Pip received a transfer recommendation in April of 2024, leaving Sprout as the only offspring remaining with Jacob and Marie. In the wild, red panda cubs leave their mother once they are self-sufficient. Breeding and transfer plans take into consideration the timeline of when cubs and parents are ready to separate.

Red pandas live in high-altitude temperate forests of Nepal, northeastern India, Bhutan and part of China. Listed as Endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the global red panda population has declined by 50% over the last 20 years. Primarily threatened by habitat loss, red pandas are also susceptible to climate change, poaching, livestock herding and disease. It is estimated that there are less than 10,000 and as few as 2,500 red pandas remaining in the wild. Currently, there are 219 red pandas at 87 AZA accredited institutions who are working together to save this endangered species.
Primarily bamboo eaters, red pandas need to eat 20-30% of their body weight each day due to the high amount of indigestible fiber present in bamboo. Thanks to the success of the Zoo’s Community Bamboo Program, the red pandas, elephants, and others enjoy various species of bamboo harvested from private landowners throughout the community.
BPZOO is a Partner in Conservation with the Red Panda Network by helping in their campaign to Plant a Red Panda Home in Nepal. Once restored, the critical forest corridor that connects Nepal and India will be part of the Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung Red Panda Protected Forest in Eastern Nepal: the world’s FIRST protected area dedicated to red panda!

Of course, the adorable threesome can still be viewed in person. 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.

Meet the Pandas!

Jacob

Jacob arrived in 2018 and has the distinction of being the very first red panda in BPZOO history. Now 7-years old, Jacob is the only male red panda at BPZOO and is easier to distinguish from the others by the significantly redder fur on his face. Jacob can typically be seen draped on upper branches in back part of his habitat or curled up on the highest stump in the center. He is well known among staff for his love of red delicious apples – but do not try to tempt him with macintosh. He will most certainly turn his nose up at them!

Marie

Marie arrived at BPZOO in 2019 based on a recommendation as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). She gave birth to her first cub, Kodo, in 2020 and in 2023 welcomed Pip and Sprout – both whom bare a significant resemblance to her. Marie can be distinguished from her offspring by the more prominent marking on her chin and her slightly rounder face. Marie prefers to hang out by the pine tree in the back corner of her habitat.

Sprout

Sprout was born at BPZOO on May 27, 2023 along with her sister Pip. Sprout was a hearty newborn who was comfortable following her sister’s lead.  Sprout’s facial markings are similar to Marie’s – she has lighter colored fur with distinct white patches over her eyes. Look for Sprout up high in the perching, towards the center of her habitat – or wherever Marie is – because Sprout is a true Mama’s Girl. Sprout will remain at BPZOO until she receives a  breeding or transfer recommendation from AZA, 

BPZOO Mourns the Loss of Beloved Cougar

BPZOO Mourns the Loss of Beloved Cougar

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is sad to announce that Nikki, a fourteen-year-old female cougar, passed away on February 22nd, 2024, after a period of rapid decline due to end-stage chronic kidney disease.

Orphaned in the wild in Oregon in 2010, Nikki found a forever home at BPZOO alongside Riley, the male cougar she shared a habitat with. Described by team members as willful and stubborn, with a strong sense of what she did and did not want, Nikki held a special place in the hearts of her Zookeepers.

“You knew when she trusted you,” said Katie Harding, a member of the BPZOO’s animal care staff who spent thirteen years working with Nikki. “It wasn’t easy, but when you got there, you knew you were lucky to be part of her circle.”

Being part of that circle meant getting a peek inside her fun, and sometimes quirky, personality through training exercises and enrichment items – finding something that truly amused her could feel like a huge win.

Steph Durette-Medeiros smiled as she remembered watching Nikki explore various enrichment she provided.

“She had a love/hate relationship with large plastic items.  She would go crazy for the blue plastic barrel that was in her habitat with her. She also loved the mirror that was in there, as well as the buoys we used for target training – it brought us a lot of joy to see those natural behaviors come out because of things we made for her.”

It was also special to see the deep bond between Nikki and Riley – BPZOO’s male cougar – who spent their time together either snuggling or playing. At the advanced age of fourteen, Riley also shows signs of kidney disease, but is continuing to participate in treatments.

BPZOO veterinarian and animal care team noticed a change in Nikki over the past few weeks. Her appetite began to decrease, and she was noticeably lethargic. Once she began refusing food, medication was no longer an option. The decision was made to humanely euthanize Nikki, surrounded by those she carefully selected to be in her inner circle.

“These decisions are always difficult,” said Gary Lunsford, Director of Zoological Services.  “The team does everything possible to provide the best lives for our animal residents, and it isn’t easy to let them go.  Animals in professional care at accredited zoos often live well beyond their normal life expectancy with ongoing veterinary care.  It is a challenging week for the team as we are engaged in similar discussions regarding our cow, Daisy, as she succumbs to a chronic uterine tumor.”

“I am truly honored to have gotten to work so closely with Nikki,” said Dr. Emmy Budas, BPZOO’s Veterinarian. “We have been doing daily training sessions with her for the past few months to improve her treatment plan. Nikki is normally very picky about the people she chooses to trust, and I am very grateful to have been considered one of those people.”

Dr. Emmy and her team will continue to monitor Riley’s health closely over the next few weeks and months. BPZOO continues to be a sanctuary for non-releasable, rehabilitated wildlife and is prepared to answer the call if the opportunity to provide a home for a young cougar arises.

Nikki will be deeply missed by everyone at BPZOO.

Creature Creations

Creature Creations

Boo at the Zoo logo with pumpkin to look like a red panda. Listing dates and times of the event.

Creature Creations (Ages 3+)

Sunday, June 9, 2024

 12:30 – 1:30 pm & 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Featured Animal: Harbor Seals

Join us for Creature Creations, an indoor painting class led by instructor Kathleen Patrick and a zoo educator. This fun program will introduce your child to a featured animal, either inside the classroom or at an animal habitat.

 

Members: $16 per ticket

Non-Members: $27 per ticket

 

One ticket includes admission for one child and one accompanying adult. Only registered children can participate in the program. Additional admission tickets are available at the door.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Unregistered children (including siblings) can not attend.

Questions? Contact the Education Department at (508) 991- 4556 ext.110 or email svanwormer@bpzoo.org.

Creature Creations

Creature Creations

Boo at the Zoo logo with pumpkin to look like a red panda. Listing dates and times of the event.

Creature Creations (Ages 3+)

Saturday, November 11th

 12:30 – 1:30 pm & 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Featured Animal: Bald Eagle

Join us for Creature Creations, an indoor painting class led by instructor Kathleen Patrick and a zoo educator. This fun program will introduce your child to a featured animal, either inside the classroom or at an animal habitat.

 

Members: $16 per ticket

Non-Members: $27 per ticket

 

One ticket includes admission for one child and one accompanying adult. Only registered children can participate in the program. Additional admission tickets are available at the door.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Unregistered children (including siblings) can not attend.

Important Safety Guidelines For Creature Creations:

  • Programs will be limited to 20 participants with 1 Art Teacher and 1 Zoo Educator.
  • Participants will be seated 2 per table with additional chairs available nearby for guardians/parents.
  • All materials will be provided.
  • Out of consideration for all of our BPZOO guests, if a participant is experiencing any of the following symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea), please do not allow them to attend this program. You will be granted a full refund as a sign of our appreciation.

Questions? Contact the Education Department at (508) 991- 4556 ext.110 or email svanwormer@bpzoo.org.

Party for the Planet

Party for the Planet

Funded by:

Saturday, April 27th, 2024

10:30 am – 2:30 pm

Free with Zoo Admission!

It’s a party for the planet, come celebrate with us!

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.

April showers might bring May flowers, but they are really raining on our Party for the Planet parade! The event has been rescheduled from Saturday, April 20th, 2024 to Saturday, April 27th, 2024. The e-waste, textile recycling, and Clothing Repair Day will go on as scheduled on April 20th. 

Join us at the Buttonwood Park Zoo on Saturday, April 27th from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, when we will offer our visitors the opportunity to explore, learn, and play with us during this free-with-admission event. Over 20 local organizations and businesses are coming together to celebrate green, sustainable living, and teach us how to make choices that will ensure the health of our planet for generations to come.
 
The Zoo will have live music, a raffle, fun games, face painting, an ambulance on site, Earth Day-inspired enrichment demonstrations with our animals, and so much more!

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 the first sightings of adults, milkweeds, and 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 also bring in any unwanted electronic items to drop off with the amazing team from UMass Dartmouth during Party for the Planet hours, regardless of whether or not they choose to then enter the Zoo. All E-Waste donations will receive one free child admission per party/family into Party for the Planet! Items that can be dropped off include:
  • Batteries (alkaline, car, boat [lead-acid], and rechargeable)
  • Printers
  • Computer or TV monitors ($20 fee for a tube [non-flat] variety)
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Phones
  • Tablets
  • Scanners
  • Fax machines
  • Cellphones, Blackberries, Palm Pilots
  • Stereo equipment (receivers, turntables, amplifiers, speakers)
  • Household appliances (toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, blenders, clock radios, mixers, George Forman Grilles, etc)
  • Other consumer electronics