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New to the zoo: 'Roos, emus and toucans too

New to the zoo: 'Roos, emus and toucans too

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Soon visitors to the Cape May County Park & Zoo will experience a world away with the opening of two new habitats and the welcoming of three new species: red kangaroos, emus and Toco toucans.

A 12,000-square-foot exhibit is in progress in the location previously occupied by the muntjacs, adjacent to the wallaby exhibit, which will host five red kangaroos and two emus. The addition of the two species will expand the Australian theme for the zoo.

“The red kangaroo is a completely new animal to the Cape May County Park & Zoo,” park Director Ed Runyon said. “We already have wallabies, which are a close relative, but the kangaroo is a much larger animal, standing nearly 6-feet tall. And emus blend nicely with kangaroos, which will add an exciting element to the habitat as they coexist together.”

Additionally, the construction of the habitat will feature new, state-of-the-art elements including stainless mesh fencing, which has a dual purpose of being stronger than typical fencing, and also enhances the visitor experience as it is easier to see through.

The zoo will also welcome two new Toco toucans to another new habitat, featuring 6,500 cubic feet of indoor and outdoor space, including open air for flying, branches, perches and ropes.

“We’re getting a young male and female, and we hope to have them become a mating pair so we can eventually have a flock of toucans,” Runyon said.

The cost of the habitat construction totals nearly $200,000, which will allow for new fencing, enrichment materials for the species and state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor housing facilities. The Cape May County Zoological Society has launched a campaign to raise funds and awareness of the incoming species for park visitors and supporters. The Zoological Society is the nonprofit community partner of county government in the continuing improvement of the park and zoo for all visitors, staff and animals.

In addition to the new incoming species and habitat construction, construction has also begun on a new café, adjacent to the lion exhibit. The new venue will be a larger space from the current food and beverage kiosks, and allow for visitors to come inside, eat and relax with air conditioning and heat.

Support for the Habitat Fundraising Campaign can be found at capemayzoosociety.org/donate, or checks can be sent to the Cape May County Zoological Society at P.O. Box 864, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210. The Cape May County Park & Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with expanded hours in the summer. Admission to the park and parking is free for all visitors, however donations are appreciated.

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