There's a drive to stop Turtleback Zoo's expansion... Your thoughts?

https://www.change.org/p/no-turtle-back-zoo-expansion

ETA: This is a proper link to the petition, which I have not signed...

-s.


It's really poorly written.


For me it won’t even open perhaps because only half of your link is a link.  



I could not get your link to work, but I heard about this on Facebook. I think this is the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/no-turtle-back-zoo-expansion

I like going to the Turtleback Zoo,and in fact, went there yesterday.  Some of the animals are in enclosures that are too small and I wonder how much more land they are trying for--some of that should stay undeveloped.  I think it is already big enough--and they could just keep what they have and try to expand the space for the animals already there. I'd be OK if they did something for the animals already there. I also worry about the animals stuck inside all winter--that does not seem right. 

Also, the traffic/parking there is already crazy, so do we really want a Disneyland-sized attraction in that area?  Many do not.

I think people are starting to look at zoos differently now and that's a good discussion. 


My thought is that this petition is a bit dishonest, in that the arguments they make seem to be aiming for more drastic changes than the claimed intent.  


Although I agree with several of their points, the petition is a hot mess.  Focus on a few key points, use some compelling data, and rewrite it.

I disagree with Joe D's continuous expansion of the facilities into the reservation. 


We moved but still see our children’s dentist in WO.  After our last appointment we then went to Maplewood so they could see their grandma.  It took about 15-20 minutes just to get through the intersection at Pleasant Valley Way and Northfield.  Had I known it had gotten that bad I actually would have gone the other way from the dentists and taken 280.  From before Northfield Ave all the way down to the paddle boats was bumper to bumper.


ETA:  for me it was an inconvenience, I can’t imagine people who live in the area and who now have to constantly figure out alternative routes 


  • This drive is sorta 'too little - too late', since the traffic is already a mess now.
  • It is not at all clear how much of the additional traffic (compared with when?) is due to the Zoo/entertainment facilities, vs. the additional residences built in West Orange, South Orange, Maplewood, etc.  
  • There are other bottlenecks in the area, which are just as bad (try Prospect/Eagle Rock, or Old Short Hills Road going into Millburn).
  • Being a fan of the Zoo:
  1. Some of the enclosures need to be enlarged.
  2. With the Zoo attempting to participate in breeding programs of various endangered/threatened species, there are valid arguments for other expansion.

Generally, I am out of touch with local traffic patterns, since I worked from home (or out of town) from 1997 to 2014.  However, now that I am working for myself and need to move around in the area, I make it a point not to be on the road till after 9 AM, and I try to avoid the 2:30-6 PM window as well.  If I must drive during the evening rush, fortunately I know most of the possible short-cuts.


It isn’t just traffic.  It is carving out more and more of the Reservation, land set aside for residents to enjoy nature.  


Thank you @soda, for posting the link. I've signed it and shared on FB.


I remember how sick I felt when I heard the original plan to bring the giraffes. At least the petition mentions the death of one of them.

When I first moved out from the city I had asked if they would consider letting me rescue the raven, who was old and blind. I offered to build a huge enclosure and apply for a permit. And I wasn't surprised by the detachment conveyed in the response, which of course was no.

Recently I went to the Alex Caprio shelter in West Orange where cats were sitting for 2 years in small cages facing a wall in a room open for only one hour and was told they are happy.  When friends tried to rescue them and when  I offered as well,  I was told, go rescue from Newark they are fine here.

I guess people become used to ignoring suffering right before there eyes.

Zoos expand, circuses come to town, animals are killed in shelters, and the deer are hunted in the reservation all in Essex County.

My belief, be a voice for the voiceless.


The giraffe situation is absolutely terrible.  Three acres for animals whose minimum range in the wild is 8 square miles.  What can the American Humane Society, which has apparently endorsed the zoo, possibly be thinking? 

And now they want to bring grizzlies to Turtleback Zoo.  Grizzly bears?????  Insanity.  

Sierra Club is asking for help in fighting this.  I have, of course, signed the petition and intend to write Martha Sapp of the Green Acres program to whom they're appealing for funds, ccing all the pertinent representatives.  


Feel free to criticize, but at least be objective.

You can't compare zoo acreage with territory required in the wild, where the giraffes have to forage on their own.  Compared with many other zoos, the giraffe habitat created at Turtleback is generous. 



We can't ask the giraffes whether they prefer the freedom to forage on their own in 8 square miles of dry savanna, but the fact that one has already died in captivity at Turtleback suggests that perhaps this isn't working out too well. 

$16 million for a grizzly bear enclosure isn't a sensible use of county funds.  





Elle_Cee said:
We can't ask the giraffes whether they prefer the freedom to forage on their own in 8 square miles of dry savanna, but the fact that one has already died in captivity at Turtleback suggests that perhaps this isn't working out too well. 

$16 million for a grizzly bear enclosure isn't a sensible use of county funds.  






 The giraffe died under anesthesia, which is a known risk.


I agree on the grizzly bear enclosure.


Treffinger wanted to close the zoo, and I’m glad that didn’t happen.  But DiVincenzo is going too far in the other direction and spending money that taxpayers can’t afford.  The zoo is already getting tons of visitors, they don’t need to keep expanding to attract more.  The Turtle Back Zoo is a great smaller sized zoo.  It is not the Bronx Zoo, and it shouldn’t try to be.


Joe D is corrupt. Follow the money.


Essex County officials released a statement about the medical procedure that allegedly led to Hodari's death on Wednesday evening:

"The procedure became necessary when zoo staff observed the 11-year-old Hodari exhibiting strange behavior. During a visual inspection, Turtle Back's veterinarian Dr. Jon Bergmann noticed something was wrong with the teeth in the back of the giraffe's mouth. About three weeks ago, Hodari was put under anesthesia so the veterinarian and a dental specialist could get a better look at the problem. Hodari awoke from the first exam without any negative effects. However, when he was placed under anesthesia the second time so the procedure could be done, he experienced complications."

Perhaps an animal that in the wild forages and eats all sorts of rough foliage might have trouble with a zoo diet.  

Giraffe Diet

Giraffes live in habitats where the available food varies throughout the year. During the dry season, giraffes eat evergreen leaves, however, once the rainy season begins, they switch to new leaves and stems that sprout on deciduous trees. Also, twigs and branches are pulled into the mouth of the giraffe with their long and dextrous tongues. In the wild giraffes can eat up to 66 kilograms of food daily.

When there is a choice, male and female giraffes feed in different ways. Males concentrate on leaves from the highest branches, while the females arch their necks to eat closer to the ground. Because of this characteristic behaviour, a giraffe can be identified as either male or female from a long distance away simply by its stance while eating. Male giraffes are also more inclined to wander into dense woodland, a habitat that females generally avoid.

Giraffes drink large quantities of water and as a result, they can spend long periods of time in dry, arid areas. When searching for more food they will venture into areas with denser foliage. The giraffe has tough lips to ensure there is no damage to their mouths when chewing at trees and twigs such as thorns.

Giraffes in captivity are generally fed on alfalfa hay and pellets, apples, carrots, bananas and browse (elm and alder are favourites).



Until the traffic and parking situation is brought under control, I am against all expansion of the zoo.

The Northfield Ave., Pleasant Valley Way intersection Is a nonworking mess when the On weekends and holidays. The amount of commercial traffic that is going through the reservation (even though it is illegal) adds to the congestion in the area.



MsSumida said:
Until the traffic and parking situation is brought under control, I am against all expansion of the zoo.
The Northfield Ave., Pleasant Valley Way intersection Is a nonworking mess when the On weekends and holidays. The amount of commercial traffic that is going through the reservation (even though it is illegal) adds to the congestion in the area.



Also, the crosswalk on Cherry Lane used to access McLoone's Boathouse is a tragic accident waiting to happen.


This was a letter apparently sent by The Sierra Club.

Help Us Stop Development of the South Mountain Reservation!

The Turtle Back Zoo is requesting taxpayer- funded Green Acres money for a $16 million Grizzly Bear Exhibit and $5 million to renovate baseball fields in Brookdale Park in Glen Ridge. 

The original intent of the South Mountain Reservation as a 2000-acre passive and peaceful Olmsted-designed park is being irreparably damaged.

Even though the Zoo is in a 23-acre section; the traffic, the light shows, the music and the promotions are preventing peaceful use of the reservation.  This is an entertainment complex, not a conservation organization. Hundreds of mature trees have come down for exhibits and 3 parking decks. 69 more trees are marked for removal all around the reservoir that have died as a result of construction at the Zoo. There is also flooding in the area

Essex County has become enamored of growing the Turtle Back Zoo, spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on animal exhibits while cloaking its activity in the veneer of conservation. This is antiquated and unsustainable. In the same application is a request for $5 million for renovating four Brookdale Park baseball fields. It seems that Green Acres will consider the Zoo and the baseball fields together as one application.

Over 7000 people have signed a petition requesting no further development of the South Mountain Reservation by the Turtle Back Zoo. 

We ask that you email Green Acres Program and ask them to vote NO on the entire application of Zoo expansion and baseball fields renovation for $21 million dollars! This park is becoming more of a theme park. This is an enterprise that keeps captive animals and stretches the intent of the Green Acres Park Development program. 

Comments should be sent to GreenAcresapplications@dep.nj.gov before May 10, 2019.

Copy to: Assemblywoman Mila Jasey AswJasey@njleg.org

Assemblyman John McKeon asmmckeon@njleg.org

Senator Richard Codey SENCODEY@NJLEG.ORG


They have planted new trees to offset the ones they cut down, but they’re planted so close together that I would be surprised if at least a quarter of them died in the next year or two


Also, while they might at least be making a small effort to offset the loss of trees, what are they doing to offset the loss of permeable ground since more and more parts of the res are being built up on and paced over for these continuing expansions



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