Cape May County Zoo Society:
707 North Route 9
PO Box 864
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(Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum): Headstart Program
In 1974, state officials had added the once abundant amphibian to the endangered species list, there were 19 small breeding areas in isolated areas of Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic counties. By 2009 researchers found just 12 eastern tiger salamander breeding areas in all on New Jersey--in Cape May County.
The major threat to species survival in New Jersey is habitat loss and destruction. While environmental groups have battled for habitat preservation, biologists with the state’s Endangered and Non-game Species Program have struggled to find ways to help the tiger salamander keep its hold in New Jersey.
Dave Golden, New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program, approached the Cape May County Zoo in 2010 about starting a headstart program to help these endangered amphibians.
“This program would involve Cape May County Zoo, the states Division of Fish and Wildlife, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and Montclair State University. Egg masses laid by wild tiger salamanders would be collected and hatched in a controlled environment at the Cape May County Zoo. Once hatched, tissue samples would be harvested and sent to Montclair State University for DNA analysis. The young would then be released back into the wild at ponds created on state-owned land. This headstart would greatly increase the possibility of larvae salamanders surviving in the wild to breeding age, therefore boosting their numbers. DNA analysis would help in determining which wild groups are doing well and which groups need assistance.” said senior reptile zookeeper, Kevin Wilson.
Your gift will help the zoo to protect and insure the survival of this endangered local species. It is truly a conservation program that Cape May County will take pride in for posterity.