New Jersey couple with interest in exotic animals hopes to reopen Plumpton Park Zoo

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Earlier this evening I spoke to Cheryl Lacovara of Mullica Hill, N.J., who, with her husband Nicholas, hopes to reopen the recently closed Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun. The Lacovaras raise their own exotic animals including camels, zebras and an emu and have been frequent visitors to the Plumpton Park Zoo since it opened 24 years ago. Cheryl says her daughter was once featured in a local newspaper photo feeding a giraffe at the Plumpton Park Zoo. She said they are in the process of negotiating the sale of the zoo with its owner Ed Plumstead and that nothing is finalized. She says they have helped each other out over the years and she hopes he would continue to advise them on activities at the zoo. The Lacovaras have been to the Plumpton Park Zoo almost every weekend making repairs required by the USDA during the recent inspections that led to the zoo’s closing in July. In a story published today in The News Journal (and written by my former colleague Mike Chalmers — Hi, Mike!), Plumstead said animal care and the zoo facility had been neglected under recent managers, who had since been fired. The News Journal story details some of the problems cited by the federal inspector. Plumstead, who is 83 and spends much of his time in Florida, told The News Journal that most of those problems have been addressed. The Lacovaras are asking for volunteers to come to the zoo this Saturday, Aug. 28 starting at 9 a.m. to help them repair fences and clean up the grounds. They’re asking for volunteers to bring cleaning and fence building supplies, particularly post hole digging equipment. They have also started a “Save Plumpton Park Zoo” Facebook page that has 446 members. They are looking to hire a new manager and Cheryl said they are negotiating with some of the zoos and farms who took Plumpton Park Zoos animals in after the closing to have them returned. They hope to have the zoo ready to open for weekends this fall and have a full schedule next spring. They plan to continue operating the zoo as a nonprofit and are asking for donations on the zoo’s webpage at www.plumptonparkzoo.org.