New Bedford Zoo’s Pride Month Vulture Message Sparks Controversy
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — As Pride Month continues throughout June, many businesses and organizations have taken the opportunity to share messages of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Often, those observances become the target of criticism, which is what happened to New Bedford’s Buttonwood Park Zoo recently.
Just after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, the zoo posted two photos of its turkey vultures to Facebook and Instagram, one with what appears to be a tissue box decorated in rainbow colors with the word “PRIDE” painted on the side, and the other with a rainbow sign with the message “LOVE IS LOVE.”
Along with the photos, the zoo posted a caption that read:
“As we admire the soaring flight of turkey vultures, let’s also reflect on their ability to find sustenance in what others may overlook or dismiss. It serves as a reminder that diversity is essential for the health and balance of our ecosystems, just as it is for the vibrancy and progress of our societies,” the zoo posted.
“Let’s learn from the turkey vulture’s unbiased palate and celebrate the beauty of diversity. By accepting all individuals and their unique journeys, we can create a world where everyone can thrive and soar, just like these majestic birds of nature.”
The caption also included a rainbow emoji and a vulture emoji, along with the hashtags “#turkeyvulture,” “#biodiversity,” “#birdsofprey,” “#bpzoo,” “#buttonwoodparkzoo” and “#conservation.”
On Facebook, the post racked up just under 60 comments as of this writing, some of which were against the zoo posting such a message.
“I recently saw a friend share your zoo and planned to visit with my children this summer. No longer interested. How sad that you’d cater to this agenda,” wrote Amanda Riordan. “Children are a main audience for your business and children need no part in sexual practices. You should be ashamed.”
“Some diversity is sinful and an abomination to God,” wrote Edna Watts.
Others shared comments in support of the message.
“Thank you for making this post, Buttonwood Park Zoo,” Gregory Giroux wrote, followed by the Pride flag emoji.
Shelley Cardoos simply posted a rainbow of heart emojis as her response.
WBSM reached out to the zoo’s media contact and invited them on air Tuesday morning to discuss, but they declined the invitation.