Rocky Gets a “Home Improvement” at the Cape May County Zoo
Release Date: June 29, 2009
Cape May Court House – Freeholder Director Daniel Beyel and the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders today welcomed “Rocky” – the Cape May County Zoo’s 9 year-old Amur Tiger into his newly improved exhibit.
The staff of the Park and Zoo began renovations to Rocky’s Exhibit in April 2009. The improvements, costing approximately $45,000.00, were a cooperative effort between County Government, the Cape May County Zoological Society and private donors.
Director Beyel said, “This is a wonderful example of how the county, zoo personnel, the zoological society and the private sector work together to improve our exhibits to both enhance the zoo experience for our visitors and improve the quality of life for the more than 550 animals that call the Cape May County Zoo their home.”
The Cape May County Zoological Society has initiated a fundraising and friend-raising campaign to help rebuild the homes of the big cats at the Cape May County Zoo. Bill Mac Queen, Executive Director of the Zoological Society said, “The goal of ZooFriends is to get our visitors involved with the zoo on a personal level so they can see and appreciate their results. ZooFriends’ donations will go to projects that enrich the lives of our animals while providing visitors an entertaining and educational experience.”
The first phase of the new tiger habitat—a waterfall and pond-was made possible through a contribution by The Dana Kull Memorial Fund in the amount of $25,000. Additionally, Tuckahoe Turf Farms of Hammonton, New Jersey, owned and operated by George and Janice Betts, donated the sod for the exhibit valued at $3,000.
The Cape May County Park & Zoo staff made significant improvements to the overall beautification of the exhibit including the fence work and outside habitat enhancements. The fence improvements total $16,000 and include safety precautions such as a 4 foot extension to the overhang and an electric fence upgrade.
Rocky – an Amur Tiger, previously referred to as a Siberian tiger, can be found along the Amur River which makes up a majority of their habitat in Northern China and Russia – was born at Great Adventure and hand raised by Dr. Hubert Paluch, Director and Veterinarian at the Cape May County Zoo. Dr. Paluch said, “Rocky, who is currently over 500 pounds, 9 feet long and 4 feet tall, is a very special Tiger who came to our zoo about eight years ago when he was only a year and a half old. From the beginning, Rocky has been a favorite of zoo staff and the public.”
The new, more realistic, natural exhibit is a plus for both Rocky and our visitors. Prior to the improvements, Rocky’s exhibit was entirely flat with an unfiltered pond that had to be emptied and filled often in order to keep it fresh. The improved exhibit has a waterfall and pond complete with a filtration system to keep the pond clean all the time. Also, the pond, waterfall and a natural berm are all elevated allowing Rocky to feel more comfortable and safe when being viewed by the public and the new natural grasses that will eventually grow much higher will also encourage a safe environment.
The next phase of the Tiger exhibit to be sponsored by ZooFriends will include a “nose to nose” glass-walled viewing enclosure and tiger conservation information site. Additionally, contributions will rebuild the habitat for Brutu, our male African lion, in 2010. The Cape May County Zoological Society is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit NJ corporation providing private sector community support for the Zoo.
The Free Cape May County Park and Zoo located on Route 9, exit 11 off the Garden State Parkway is open 364 days a year weather permitting. Summer hours are from 10 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.
For more information about the Cape May County Park and Zoo call (609) 465-5271 or visit http://www.capemaycountygov.net.