Zoo closed to the public turns to online education


Left: A zookeeper holds virtual chat with Cisco, a Great Horned Owl. Right: A zookeeper holds virtual chat with Hamilton, a 3 year old skunk. (Photo courtesy: BPZOO)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford is closed to visitors for the time being but still finding ways to teach people about animals.

On Wednesday, the zoo offered its first of several “virtual keeper chats” in which zookeepers showcased animals and answered viewers’ questions via Facebook Live.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced last week that the zoo would be closed until at least Sunday, March 22.

“During this challenging time, we wanted to create programming that allowed followers to stay connected to the zoo in a fun and educational way,” Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Keith Lovett said. “Our daily social media offerings will hopefully brighten everyone’s day while also allowing us to continue with one of our key missions of connecting the community to wildlife and nature.”

The chats take place daily at 11 a.m. on Buttonwood Park Zoo’s Facebook page and will also be posted on the zoo’s YouTube page.

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