Buttonwood Park Zoo
The entrance to the Buttonwood Park Zoo
|Date opened||1894; August 12, 2000 (renovated)|
|Location||New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States|
|No. of animals||250+|
The Buttonwood Park Zoo, located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, United States, is a ten-acre zoo located in the center of Buttonwood Park. It is owned and operated by the City of New Bedford, with the support of the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society.
The zoo opened in 1894 and reopened in 2000 after major renovations. It is home to a variety of North American wildlife and it supports many conservation programs, such as the Cape Cod Stranding Network.
On January 3, 2014, Asian elephant Ruth was found outside in subzero temperatures during a blizzard. The zoo was cited and fined $777 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act for failure to secure access. Ruth subsequently suffered frostbite of her ears, tail and vulva. Portions of her ears fell off, and on November 5, 2014, approximately 10" of her tail was surgically removed.
The Buttonwood Park Zoo is the oldest continually operating zoo in Massachusetts.
In 1969, the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society (BPZS), a private, nonprofit corporation, was founded to manage the membership program, run concessions, produce zoo events, and coordinate fundraising. The City of New Bedford supplies one-third of the money needed to operate the zoo, and the remainder is covered by concessions income and contributions from the BPZS.
By the 1990s, the zoo was in deplorable condition and in need of renovation. The zoo closed in late 1995 for renovations. The zoo re-opened in August 2000.
The zoo houses over 200 animal species from around the world. Exhibits feature animals from the barnyard as well as the wild.
The exhibits are categorized into five main areas:
- North America East (NAE): This section contains black bears, river otters, beavers, turkey buzzards, bald eagles, and coyotes.
- North America West (NAW): This section contains bison, cougars, Canadian lynx, bobcat, and crows.
- Aquatics: This section contains harbor seal, shorebirds, a salt marsh, a kettlepond, a mountain stream, amphibians, snakes, and turtles.
- Elephants: This section contains the zoo's two Asian elephants. In 2013, the zoo announced that after the elephants die, it will not take in another elephant to replace them.
- Domestics: This section contains horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and an area for pony rides.
The Wildlife Education Center is an educational building at the heart of the zoo. It contains two classrooms which host educational programs and business and private meetings.
The North Woods Gift Store and Bear's Den Cafe are open daily.
Annual events at the zoo include "Boo at the Zoo", "Holiday Lights", "Cabin Fever Week", and "Spring Fling Week".
- "History and Facts". bpzoo.org. Buttonwood Park Zoo. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "About the Zoo". bpzoo.org. Buttonwood Park Zoo. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "Zoo History & Facts". Buttonwood Park Zoo. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- "Buttonwood among worst elephant zoos". WPRI.com. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
- "The 2011 list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants". idausa.org. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
- "Ruth the elephant escapes from heated barn during Friday's blizzard". SouthCoastToday.com. 2014-01-05.
- "USDA APHIS Enforcement Action October 2014" (PDF).
- "Zoo Society". bpzoo.org. Buttonwood Park Zoo. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
- "About the Zoo". Buttonwood Park Zoo. Retrieved 28 December 2013.