Wild New Jersey Exclusive: Glossy ibis possibly slain in Somerset County preserve
This was an ibis photographed at Negri-Nepote the day before, but is not necessarily that one that died.
Photo credit: Tom Beattie
By David Wheeler
New Jersey birders visiting the Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve in Franklin Township were stunned to find a glossy ibis lying dead - the possible victim of a pellet rifle.
Donna Schulman noted that the ibis was "lying dead by the pond directly opposite the blind. The blind floor was covered by little round pellets and empty bottles of soft drinks. There were also pellets near the dead Ibis."
Though it is too soon to verify, the pellets surrounding the otherwise healthy-looking ibis raise the possibility of an illegal shooting by vandals. Birders are calling for an investigation by state wildlife officials and local law enforcement.
Negri-Nepote is a 164-acre preserve managed by New Jersey Audubon Society, and originally preserved in 2003 by Franklin Township as part of the Middlebush Greenway in Somerset County. The preserve holds 111 acres of grasslands - a habitat that is dwindling across much of New Jersey - and 53 acres of forest. In addition to glossy ibis, species such as Cooper's hawk, American kestrel, and purple martins thrive in this grassland refuge.