Add Your Voice!

Every year, thousands of local school kids take a field trip to Buttonwood Park Zoo. Whatever you think about zoos, what is clear is that the elephant exhibit here teaches children the wrong thing about elephants on purpose.


Please join us in encouraging the local school committees to bring their school children to more appropriate venues. Just cut and paste from the copy below and email to the contacts listed.

Dear Committee Member;

The largest circus in the country, Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey, folded its tents for good. Years of parents and grandparents protesting the use of endangered species in demeaning and harmful acts caused a great change for the 64 elephants and many lions, tigers and, yes, bears at RBBB.

As the school year winds down, children from your school district are visiting Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford. Although it may seem an innocent field trip, please consider what a day at the zoo teaches your children about two Asian elephants, Ruth & Emily, who are kept on a half-acre dirt lot at the zoo.

This is not how elephants live: there's no grass to graze, no branches to browse within reach, and no cooling mud or ponds. In order to keep them prominently displayed, the zoo closes them off from the concrete pool. There is no water to drink unless they drink from one end of that pool. In the heat of the day, there is barely any shade.

And the new area is only 8,000 s.f.--it's smaller by half than the old exhibit area with no access to the cool of the barn.

Both elephants exhibit behavioral problems from being so confined. Ruth sways and rocks waiting for food. Emily takes Ruth's food and shows aggression towards her--from shouldering her aside to headbutting her.

Both would benefit from transfer to The Elephant Sanctuary--a 2,700 -acre reserve in Tennessee. Established in 1996, the Sanctuary takes in sick, needy and elderly elephants. They have round-the-clock staff, are federally licensed, and are financially stable.


This year, Ruth & Emily have the option of going to the Elephant Refuge in North America, founded by Carol Buckley, a co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary. The Refuge is located on 875 forested acres in Attapulgus, GA and uses the same  principles as The Elephant Sanctuary: providing a safe, serene environment for sick, needy & elderly elephants.

Although the zoo does not favor relocating Ruth & Emily, their decision did not adequately evaluate the benefits to the elephants.

Please consider sending the children in your district to a venue that teaches them about nature in an appropriate setting.

A trip to Horseneck Beach, Lloyd's Center for the Environment, or properties owned by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, the Trustees for Reservations, Audubon Society of Massachusetts or The Nature Conservancy would teach them far more about the natural world. All offer programs for school-age children.

The convenience of the zoo does not justify teaching children the wrong thing about a species that is on the brink of extinction.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.


Letters may be emailed to the following school contacts.

ALL email addresses are the official school addresses.

The Town of Dartmouth no longer has an email address for its school committee chair or superintendent of schools online.


Sarah Gomes, Acushnet 


Pamela Kuechler, Fairhaven


Mayor Jasiel Correia, Fall River.

Lakeville-Freetown School District 
Steve Owen, Chair 

Jean Fox, Co-Chair,


Brian Lynch, Superintendent of Schools, Middleborough  


Dr James Sorensen, Chair, Plymouth 


Michael Flaherty, Wareham 


The Town of Westport asks that you please email to contact the whole committee.