Activists lobby to have animals removed from Johnson Park Zoo following Ida flooding
Animal rights activists are pushing to have the animals removed from Johnson Park Zoo in Piscataway. They say that the animals were left stranded in rising floodwater and stuck in their enclosures during Ida.
The zoo is located near the Raritan River, which took on record rainfall and spilled over its banks during the storm.
“They have no horse trailer, there’s no way to transport them. So I called the night of the storm and was lied to, being told the animals were removed from the floodwaters,” says activist Jenna Trent. “I’m standing in the park, the next day, they’re still in the water.”
Trent has helped to form the organization Friends of Johnson Zoo Animals. She identified 13 animal sanctuaries where 85 of the animals could be moved.
The organization is sending a formal letter to the Middlesex County Commissioners asking to have the goats, horses and other animals moved out. But it is not clear if the county is ready to give up running the zoo.
After the storm, the county sent out a statement saying that zoo staffers were on-site at the time and that the small animals were moved. The county says that none of the animals died.
But Trent is questioning the accuracy of that statement.
“We have images from three days before the flood that show baby deer and there are no more baby deer,” she says.
Trent’s plea to the commissioners also includes the information that shows that nine horses died in Tropical Storm Floyd and that the rising water issued won’t decrease because the park is in a flood zone.
Trent says that she is hoping for an answer on these animals in the next two weeks when the commissioners hold their next meeting.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the county to see if a decision has been made about removing the animals, but did not hear back.