“The chickens crawl all over the office, and they lay eggs on my desk,” says John Bergmann, who chuckles as he lifts up the towels that cover the papers in his office â€“ which is in a barn. “It’s all part of the job, I guess.”
Mr. Bergmann is general manager of Popcorn Park, a federally licensed zoo nestled in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey that caters to distressed wildlife and exotic and domesticated animals. Part of the statewide Associated Humane Societies, the zoo cares for thousands of animals each year, including those that are ill, injured, exploited, abused, or older.
“Animals find their way to us,” he says. “This all happened by accident.”
The zoo began in 1977 as a pet adoption center when staff started receiving calls about distressed wildlife, including a raccoon that had been injured when it got caught in a trap.
As new animals came in, more cages were built, and piece by piece the zoo was born.