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 our local wildlife and the importance of protecting their habitats. They 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, Barred Owl
Mitzi was found on the ground along the side of a road in Pennsylvania after sustaining a wing injury. The injured owl was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator who suspected the owl had been scavenging road kill. When a vehicle drove by, the force of the wind caused this light bird (owl's bones are hollow) to be lifted up and dropped without time for the bird to react in a safe way.
Because Mitzi's bone did not heal properly even after a year of rehabilitation, her medical team decided that she would not survive in the wild. Mitzi was transferred to TNC in 2003. For birds like Mitzi, found as adults, we cannot estimate age or sex.
Wild & Star, Eastern Box Turtles
Wild was brought here to 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. Thankfully, TNC staff worked with her so that she could quickly regain her health.
Star is on permanent loan from local turtle specialists Don and Joyce Zieller. In addition to helping to found TNC, they educated countless people about NJ turtles. Don (may he rest in peace) would often point out the chewed marks on her shell in order to discus 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; an endangered Corn Snake; Yellow Spotted Salamanders; Lucy the Ball Python; Rocky, Bullwinkle, and Big Mama, Chinchillas; Lego the Leopard Gecko; Romeo and Juliet the Bull Frogs; 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.