PISCATAWAY — NJ.com reported that the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners announced at its Thursday meeting that it will hire a consultant to assess the situation at the zoo in Johnson Park in Piscataway rather than close it, as previously announced.
In October, Middlesex County said a decision was made to close the animal haven "after careful consideration and comprehensive research," due to the increasing threat from severe weather.
"Due to Johnson Park's location within a flood plain and the real, undeniable threat of climate change, it is in the best interest of the animals to close the Johnson Park Animal Haven and rehome them in more resilient locations," the Board of County Commissioners said in a news release issued on Oct. 18.
The facility flooded in early September when the remnants of Ida slammed New Jersey. Photos later showed multiple animals at the small zoo standing in floodwaters.
When contacted by New Jersey 101.5 on Sept. 7, Middlesex County said it had "lost no animals" in the storm and that "all animals are safe."
But animal welfare advocates had been voicing their concerns about the health and safety of animals at the zoo, located along the Raritan River.
Friends of the Johnson Park Animals, which was started in response to Ida, helped gather over 9,000 signatures for a petition that called for the closure of the zoo, according to NJ.com.
During the meeting, as reported by NJ.com, Commissioner Director Ronald Rios said they received support from animal lovers to keep the zoo open, and that's why they decided to hire a consultant to make recommendations about the zoo's future.
According to Rios, and as reported by NJ.com, the recommendations would be completed at some point in early 2022.
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