(Buttonwood Park Zoo/Facebook)
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) students have made toys for elephants at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford.
The five toys created by the students were presented to the elephants — Emily and Ruth — on Thursday, according to The Boston Globe. This is the eighth year the project took place.
The project was part of a class which, for the last 8 years, has given students “the opportunity to contribute to elephant’s daily needs and to participate in a global discussion about the complexity of a threatened species, in an intensely political climate that surrounds the issue,” according to MassArt’s website.
Elephant Emily, 54, first came to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in 1968. Ruth, 60, is the third oldest elephant in a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to the Buttonwood Park Zoo website.
Elephant Ruth had a long journey before finding a home at the zoo. According to their website, Ruth was first hired for events such as parades and birthday parties. In the 1980s, her owner was being investigated for not providing proper animal care. He ran away with Ruth in a trailer before leaving her at a Danvers industrial park.
Ruth came to the Buttonwood Park Zoo with injuries that appeared to be from her time in the trailer. She was paired up with elephant Emily. According to the zoo, they will be the last elephants to live there.