We house a small collection of animals that cannot be released into the wild for a variety of reasons. Instead these animals help educate people of all ages about the needs of local wildlife and the importance of protecting their habitats. All our animals are native or related to local species found throughout New Jersey.
You can sponsor an Animal Ambassador and help care for them by aiding in the cost of their upkeep. Contributions assist the TNC by providing food, building and improving enclosures, and securing necessary medical care.
Ruby, Red Tailed Hawk
In the fall of 2006, Ruby was found tangled up in a tree on Long Island close to power lines. When the local fire department came to the rescue, they found a string twisted around her left wing, an injured left eye, and red nail polish on her beak, legs, and feet. Ruby was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator who guessed she had been stolen from the wild as a nestling. The rehabilitator was able to remove the string and most of the red nail polish but her eye injury was permanent.
Ruby's eye injury prevents her from seeing well enough to fly or hunt. Since she would not survive life in the wild, TNC volunteered to provide her with a new home and care for the rest of her life. Nine months later, her red tail feathers began to grow as she turned two years old. Ruby is now a healthy adult hawk.
Mitzi and Mene, Barred Owls
Mitzi was found with an injured wing along a road in Pennsylvania. Most likely the bird was scavenging road kill when the force of the wind from a passing vehicle caused this light bird (owls' bones are hollow) to be lifted up and dropped too quickly to react in a safe way. A wildlife rehabilitator treated its injured wing, which did not heal well enough to allow the owl to hunt and survive in the wild. Mitzi came to TNC in 2003. For birds like Mitzi, found as adults, we cannot estimate age or sex.
Mene, also a rescue bird with a permanently damaged wing, joined TNC in April 2013 after several months with a rehabilitator. The two owls share a cage in TNC's outdoor aviary.
Wild & Star, Eastern Box Turtles
Wild was brought to TNC to be released, illegally and without permission from TNC, in 2001. A family had picked her up while on a road trip and kept her in their basement until they didn't want to care for her anymore (box turtles can live to be 100!). Since her original home territory was unknown, she could not be returned. Also, Wild was dangerously malnourished. Well cared for by TNC's staff, she quickly regained her health.
Star is on permanent loan from local turtle specialists Joyce and the late Don Zeiller. In addition to helping to found TNC, they educated countless people about NJ turtles. Don would often point out the canine marks on her shell to illustrate the dangers of predation to turtles. Star's injuries were caused by a domestic dog.
Additional Animal Ambassadors
TNC also takes care of Henrietta the Western Hognose Snake; Maple the Wood Turtle; Cornelia and Ellie, endangered Corn Snakes; Spira, a threatened NJ Pine Snake, Yellow Spotted Salamanders; Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Big Mama, Chinchillas; Lego the Leopard Gecko; Romeo the Bull Frog; Green Tree Frogs; and a variety of invertebrates, including Giant Millipedes, Beetles, and Walking Sticks that look like twigs. Come visit them anytime the Visitor Center is open.