Wildlife of Popcorn Park Zoo Enjoy the Snow
Associated Humane Societies Prepared Well in Advance for the Blizzard
People may get frustrated by the inconvenience of snow but the tigers, horses, and camels of Lacey relish it.
The Popcorn Park Zoo knew to prepare in advance for the blizzard that hit Lacey Township on Sunday.
"As of the Monday before the storm, there was enough warning," Popcorn Park Zoo Director John Bergman said. "As long as we knew the chances were there, we start preparation."
Several members of the staff and volunteers actually commit to staying at the Popcorn Park Zoo overnight. The zoo has cots for the staff to sleep in so they can take care of the animals and the park the following morning.
"Depending on the stronger the severity of what's going to happen, then we make those plans," Bergman said. "We had enough stay over knowing that we couldn't get in the next day. It was still tough but it went smoother having people right there."
Between four staff members, two volunteers, and one person who live on the premises, the animals were well taken care of. All animals were brought inside, whether it be their den, barn, or the shelter, before the storm hit on Sunday.
Knowing that they would be unable to get to the animals Monday morning, the zoo's staff prepared plenty of food for the animals to carry them through two days.
"We knew the possibility of someone getting to the animals Monday morning wasn't going to be the first thing so we had extra food, extra buckets, we had heated buckets for water. So we really packed them in with food and water," Bergman said.
The staff spent Monday plowing and shoveling paths throughout the zoo so that they could get to the animals.
Once, they reached the animals, certain ones were let out.
"We want to put as many animals in as possible during the snow but after that, the tigers love the snow. They couldn't wait to get out and into the snow," Bergman said. "The horses don't mind it either. We dug paths in their outside enclosures so they can get around."
Since the staff of Popcorn Park prepared in advance, the only problem they faced was the loss of a shear pin on a snow blower, Bergman said. Only half of the snow blower was functioning for part of the day, until it was fixed.
The Associated Humane Societies was founded in 1906 as a not-for-profit organization and is the largest animal sheltering system in New Jersey with shelters in Newark, Forked River, and Tinton Falls. The facility in Forked River also includes Popcorn Park Zoo, which is a home for abandoned, injured, ill, exploited, abused, or elderly wildlife, exotic and farm animals, and birds.
The shelter in Forked River houses 75 to 100 dogs at any given time as well as approximately 150 cats. Popcorn Park Zoo is a home to about 200 animals.