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September 10, 2003

Contact: Jack Kaskey
(609) 984-1795

Endangered Species Exhibit Travels to Ocean County
DEP Names Northern Pine Snake the Endangered Species of the Month

(03/125) TRENTON - The New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Traveling Exhibit, an interactive display that showcases the history and achievements of endangered species protection in the state, opens Friday at Tuckerton Seaport in Ocean County for a seven-week stay.

The traveling exhibit is part of the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) celebration of 30 years of endangered species protection in New Jersey. Using an interactive collage of video, audio and graphics, visitors can view the beautiful and diverse landscapes of New Jersey, while learning about the critical work necessary to ensure the future of our state's wildlife heritage.

Today is the exhibit's last day at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor before it moves to the Tuckerton Seaport, 120 West Main Street in Tuckerton. Lawrence Niles, chief of the DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program, will speak at the exhibit's seaport debut, 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12.

The exhibit will remain at the seaport through Monday, Oct. 27.

The DEP and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey unveiled the New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Traveling Exhibit in July at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It will travel throughout the state before settling into its permanent home at the Division's Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center in Oxford, Warren County.

Future stops include Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge (Oct. 29 - Nov. 25); Meadowlands Environmental Education Center in Lyndhurst (Nov. 26 - Jan. 27, 2004), PSE&G Headquarters in Newark (Feb. 1 - Feb. 26) and Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark (Feb. 27 - March 31). Funding for the exhibit was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation and PSE&G.

In addition to the traveling exhibit, the DEP is highlighting a threatened or endangered species each month on its web site, September's species is the northern pine snake, a threatened species whose populations are affected by habitat loss due to development, illegal collecting, and thoughtless killing of snakes by people. The New Jersey Pinelands may provide residence for some of the largest populations of this non-venomous constrictor in the Northeast.

Signed into law on Dec. 14, 1973, the New Jersey Endangered Species Conservation Act directed the DEP to protect, manage and restore the state's endangered and nongame wildlife species. Over the past 30 years, state biologists have made New Jersey a leader in bringing key species back from the brink of extinction - species such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and osprey.



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