The Buttonwood Park Zoo is involved in a wide variety of local and international conservation efforts:
Diamond Back Terrapins
Sometimes native turtles are illegally removed from the wild by well-intentioned people. Generally these specimens are hatchlings and are kept at the person’s home for a while. They may have been subjected to trauma or inappropriate nutrition. If they are voluntarily turned over to the zoo they are checked by a veterinarian and treated. If they are young, sick, or malnourished this treatment may take a year or so, during which they are held at the Zoo before eventual release into a suitable habitat.
FrogWatch USA is an AZA citizen science program which monitors frog and toad populations nationwide. As a chapter site, the Buttonwood Park Zoo trains citizens like you to become involved in collecting data on our local frog and toad populations during the breeding season. For more information or to learn how you can become involved click here.
Plymouth Red Belly Cooters
The Massachusetts population of the Redbelly Turtle is listed as an endangered species by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/nhesp.htm) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. There are approximately 300 breeding age individuals known to exist in this population. The zoo participates in the the Plymouth Redbelly Turtle Headstart Program, which dates back to 1985, under the direction of Dr. Thomas French of the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. Each year, hatchlings are raised at the Zoo until they are between 4-5 inches long, and then released back into the wild. At this size, predation becomes less of a factor and these animals have a “headstart” towards a long and reproductive life.
State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART):
Specialized Species Team
The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) is a network of organizations, agencies, and individuals who are committed to responding to the needs of the animal population in disaster situations in the State of Massachusetts. There are seven teams that makeup SMART. We are part of the Specialized Animal Services team, along with other specialists in aquatic and zoo animal medicine and husbandry, wildlife disease surveillance and rehabilitation, exotic animal veterinary care, and laboratory animal medicine. This team works intimately with the Veterinary Services team to address the needs of non-traditional pets, livestock, research animals, and wildlife during an emergency. The team provides acute medical care based on triage of animals, monitoring the health of rescued animals, and survey the general health of wild animals through disease surveillance of live and deceased individuals and populations.
Stranded Marine Mammal Response Team (SMMRT)
The Cape Cod Stranding Network, Inc. (CCSN), a project of IFAW, is a small non-profit organization dedicated to improving marine mammal stranding response on Cape Cod and in southeastern MA. Several zoo employees volunteer their time to be part of the stranded marine mammal response team. The zoo supports CCSN in their mission to promote the conservation of marine mammal species (dolphins, whales, and seals) and their habitat by improving response and humane care to stranded marine mammals, advancing stranding science, and promoting public awareness through education.
Our Conservation Partners: