include areas where the public will be able to view the giraffes feeding and will also feature a climate-controlled barn which will house the giraffes during the winter months. Closed-circuit cameras will be installed in the barn so that the giraffes can be viewed on a video screen in the Zoo Café.
It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.
“We continually look for new ways to introduce
more exotic animals to the public
so Turtle Back Zoo can fulfill its mission of raising awareness
about nature and the importance of animals," DiVincenzo said.
"Bringing giraffes to Essex County strengthens and
diversifies our animal family, and provides an interesting exhibit
that will excite and attract more visitors."
“It’s always a good day when you roll out a project like this,"
Turtle Back Zoo Director Brint Spencer said.
"In addition to the giraffes, this multi-species exhibit
will feature antelope and ostrich.
It will greatly enhance the African animals in our collection and
expand our opportunities to fulfill our mission of education and conservation."
Masai, the largest subspecies of giraffes, are naturally found in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, and are the tallest land mammals.
They have large, distinctive, dark brown, vine-leaf shaped, jagged spots which are interspersed by creamy-brown irregular lines and are noticeably darker in color than other types of giraffes.
The most commonly-scene giraffes in zoos, Reticulated Giraffes are naturally found in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. They are slightly shorter than the Masai, and have large red-brown blotches with a white web-like pattern dividing them.
Currently, the two animals which will make their way to West Orange are located in Missouri in the Kansas City and Dickerson Park Zoos.
“We at the Zoological Society are excited
that giraffes are coming to the Zoo,”
commented Zoological Society of New Jersey Executive Director Adam Kerins,
"and that we will be involved in conservation
and education efforts to sustain the species.
Since 1999, wild giraffe populations have declined by about 40 percent.
This new project will provide an arena for us
to inspire advocates and tell the plight of these animals."
The exhibit is being funded through the Essex County Capital Budget's Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund.
The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to answer questions so delays can be avoided.
Turtle Back Zoo
Acting Director Brint Spencer
560 Northfield Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
- 10am to 3:30pm
- Seven days a week
- Park remains open for a half hour after last admission
- Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
($9 Dec .1 through Mar. 31)
($7 Dec .1 through Mar. 31)
Children and seniors (62+)
Children under 2 years
Turtle Back Zoo is committed to providing an enriching recreational experience that fosters excellence in wildlife education and wildlife conservation. Formed in 1962 on a 15.5 acre section of the county’s South Mountain Reservation, the Zoo was designed by Tjark Reiss who created the exhibits based on Hans Christian Anderson’s nursery rhyme themes. The zoo opened on June 3, 1963 with a collection of 140 animals of 40 species and by ten years later the zoo’s animal collection had grown to 850 animals of 275 species. Since taking office in 2003, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo has spearheaded over $70 million in upgrades to the zoo. In September 2006, Turtle Back Zoo was granted accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. This distinct honor places Turtle Back Zoo among the elite zoos and aquaria of the United States and means that the zoo adheres to the highest standards for zoos in the country.