Asbury Woods is thrilled to announce the addition of a male European ferret. The ferret was born on December 31, 2017 and busy adjusting to his new environment in the exhibit hall within the Nature Center.
Asbury Woods held a naming contest in March and over 200 entries were submitted to name the ferret. The top four names were on display during the Maple Festival on April 14 - 15 where guests were encouraged to vote for their favorite name with their donations. The top four finalists were: Nigel, Scout, Rascal and Finnegan. Finnegan was the name with the most donations.
This new ferret replaces P.J, our beloved ferret that passed away from natural causes on January 30, 2018. After noticing he was less energetic than usual, P.J. was taken to the veterinarian where it was determined that a tumorous mass was blocking part of his digestive tract. Due to his senior age and condition, comfort care was recommended. During his final hours P.J. was lovingly cared for at home by one of our staff educators. During the last five years, P.J.'s playful antics brought joy to countless children and adults in our exhibit hall, at our Erie Wild! animal programs, and to visiting schools and groups.
It was important to acquire a new ferret because of their role in our educational programming. While ferrets are not a native species in this area, they are great ambassadors for native members of the weasel family. Locally we can find species of weasel, mink, and even fishers. This ferret will be used to educate students and the public about the entire weasel family.
As caretakers of these animals, the Asbury Woods staff takes responsibility for their wellbeing by providing each with an appropriate diet, a clean environment, preventative medications and enrichment activities such as time outside their exhibits.
“All the animals at Asbury Woods are acquired specifically for educational purposes, not taken from the wild,” says Melissa Martin, Environmental Educator. “They go through a slow process of introduction to their exhibits, becoming familiar with their human handlers and are assessed for readiness before being included in a public program.”
The exhibit hall inside the Nature Center at Asbury Woods is home to 27 animals and a bee colony, all of which are used for our educational activities for visiting school groups, summer camps and community programs.
“Our animals play an integral part in helping us fulfill our mission to inspire a greater sense of environmental awareness, sustainability and stewardship,” says Jennifer Farrar, Executive Director. “The exhibit animals are often the gateway into learning experiences that highlight species native to our state and region, the natural food sources those animals need to survive in the wild and the role we each can play in protecting natural spaces where animals and humans can both thrive.”