By Joe Hart Rocky, the nine-year-old Amur Tiger at the Cape May County Zoo, moved into his newly renovated habitat on Monday, June 29. rocky was born at Great Adventure and hand raised by Dr. Hubert Paluch, Zoo Director and veterinarian. “Rocky, who is currently over 500 pounds, 9 feet long and 4 feet tall, is a very special tiger who came to our zoo about eight years ago when he was only a year and half old. From the beginning, Rocky has been a favorite of the zoo staff and the public,” Paluch said. Paluch called Rocky a people-person who enjoys the summer when there are more visitors at the zoo to show off for.
Rocky’s new digs, which cost approximately $45,000, were made possible through a cooperative effort between county government, the Cape May County Zoological Society and private donors. A new waterfall and pond was funded through a contribution by The Dana Kull Memorial Fund in the amount of $25,000. The Zoo Staff made significant improvements to the overall beautification of the exhibit including outside habitat enhancements and fence upgrades that totaled $16,000. The Cape May County Zoological Society has initiated a fundraising and friend-raising campaign to help rebuild the homes of the zoo’s big cats. “The goal of the ZooFriends is to get our visitors involved with the zoo on a personal level so they can see and appreciate their results. ZooFriends’ donations will go to projects that enrich the lives of our animals while providing visitors an entertaianing and educational experience,” said Bill MacQueen, executive director of the society. The next phase of the tiger exhibit to be sponsored by ZooFriends will include a “nose-to-nose” glass walled viewing enclosure and tiger conservation information site. Additionally, conributions will rebuild the habitat for Brutu, the resident male African lion, in 2010.