Take a hike through a natural area of mature oak, hickory, and maple trees, but with a difference. On your hike you will see bobcat, porcupine, barred owl, raven, and red-tailed hawk. These native New Jersey animals are in secure naturalistic enclosures, but you have the feeling that you are sharing the woodland together.
The bobcat, absent from New Jersey for many years, has returned and sightings are becoming more frequent.
The porcupine, North America’s largest rodent, can be seen in the northern ridge and valley region of the state.
The common raven lives throughout the world, surviving almost everywhere because of its adaptability. Ravens are highly intelligent, using tools to obtain food and aid in defending their territories.
A newer addition to Wild New Jersey are two rescued Barred owls. Think you might have a barred owl near you? The Barred Owl’s hooting call sounds like they are saying “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”.
The bald eagle is the symbol of the United States. These captive eagles belong to the citizens of the United States. Turtle Back Zoo is their official caretaker. State and national conservation efforts have brought the bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. In 1973, there was just one nesting pair of bald eagles in New Jersey. The 2016 New Jersey Bald Eagle Project from the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) and Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) reported 150 active nest sites with 132 nest producing young.
Turtle Back Zoo is located at the north end of Essex County’s 2000 acre South Mountain Reservation. A network of trails will take you along ridges and through valleys. You will pass by ponds, streams and hemlock falls. A trail map is available at the zoo office. Make time to visit New Jersey’s natural areas and get to know and appreciate the vast variety of animals and plants that can be seen.