New at the Zoo – Panamanian Golden Frog

New at the Zoo – Panamanian Golden Frog

Critically Endangered Species Front and Center to Zoo Visitors

There are new faces in the Buttonwood Park Zoo admission’s building – the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog. These five females, who arrived from the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee in the winter of 2021, have recently taken 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 and toad 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 haven’t been seen in the wild since 2009. Scientists believe that an infectious disease called chytridiomycosis, coupled with habitat loss and pressure from the illegal pet trade have caused the drastic decline in populations – an estimated 80% in the last 10 years.

“Conservation is at the heart of what we do here at BPZOO,” says Director of Conservation and Community Engagement, Josh Thompson. “Amphibians are disappearing from our planet at an alarming rate – one that far exceeds the rates of birds and mammals – and this worldwide decline is so dramatic, it is being referred to as the Global Amphibian Crisis. BPZOO is participating in a Species Survival Plan® program, or SSP, and hopes to receive a breeding recommendation in the future so that we can contribute to the assurance population of these toads in human care and avoid the path to extinction.”

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. This is critical for species such as the Panamanian golden frog. BPZOO is now participating in 35 AZA Species Survival Plan programs.

Zoo admission is not required to view these amphibians, or the four different species of poison dart frogs, who reside in the terrarium next to them.

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.