NJ zoo and public mourns the loss of a beloved long-time resident
⚫ The Popcorn Park Zoo said goodbye to a beloved black bear
⚫ The 27-year-old black bear had been at the zoo for 25 years
⚫ BooBoo's health took a turn for the worse a few months ago
FORKED RIVER — Anyone who has ever visited The Popcorn Park Animal Refuge in Lacey Township over the course of the past two decades or so has most likely met and been entertained by a sweet, whimsical black bear named BooBoo.
On Monday, the park, which was established in 1977 for the sole purpose of providing a refuge for abandoned, injured, and unwanted animals, released a statement on Facebook announcing that the 27-year-old black bear had died.
“It is with heavy hearts we inform you all of BoobBoo the bear’s passing. At 27 years of age, she lived a very fulfilling life, surrounded by all who loved her dearly,” the statement read.
According to the social media post, the zoo’s veterinarians and staff worked very hard to keep BooBoo happy, healthy, and comfortable as she aged. They monitored her bloodwork, groomed her, and provided her with daily medications.
But BooBoo’s last few months proved to be very difficult for her. That is when the staff had to be the gut-wrenching decision to say goodbye.
“Her passing has left us all heartbroken but we are so honored to have provided her sanctuary for the past 25 years,” according to the zoo’s statement.
BooBoo’s story was an interesting one. When she was just a cub, BooBoo was traded as a down payment for a car, and then used for promotional purposes in order to gain business sales. But the authorities stepped in on BooBoo’s behalf, saying that was no life for a bear.
In 1998, BooBoo arrived at Popcorn Park, a place she would call her forever home and sanctuary for a quarter of a century.
Her story touched many lives about the importance of protecting, preserving, and co-existing with wildlife, the zoo said.
BooBoo spent most of her days swimming, munching on peanuts, and sleeping in the sunshine.
“BooBoo will forever hold a special place in our hearts and her memory will live on in the work we do,” they said.
Many New Jersey residents, and zoo visitors took to Facebook to express their sympathy. These are just a few:
"I'm so sorry to hear this news we were just there recently and got to see this beautiful girl."
"BooBoo helped bring a smile to so many people. My family has always loved just sitting and watching her love her best bear-life. Thank you Popcorn Park Zoo for giving her such a beautiful life & allowing the public to be a small part of it."
"We used to love stopping by whenever we could to see the beautiful bears lounging in the sun. I remember BooBoo well and how she loved interacting with the crowds and getting peanuts. Thank You for caring for her and giving her a safe haven all these years. She will be missed…."
"RIP BooBoo!! She was a delight to see when we visited. She will be missed!!! Thank you for all you did for her and for all the animals in your care!!"
Rest in peace, BooBoo. May you find your rainbow bridge.