LACEY TOWNSHIP–Last week when the media learned that “Jersey Shore” reality television “princess” Snooki Poliizi had logged in community service hours at Associated Humane Societies Popcorn Park, the refuge’s real Princess began another year of doing what she does best.
Without fanfare and media hype that follows the other celebrity, Princess the Camel, a longtime resident of Associated Humane Societies Popcorn Park made her first pick of who would win one of the first NFL football games of the season. Putting her prognosticating prowess to the test, she quietly and accurately predicted the Baltimore Ravens would beat the New York Jets. This week, Princess is betting that Giants quarterback Eli Manning will defeat brother Peyton and the Indianapolis Colts.
A true Jersey Shore resident for a number of years, Princess has earned a stellar reputation and has made headlines throughout the nation because of her uncanny ability to predict the winners of NFL games.
“She is truly our star. Special guests who visit us at Popcorn Park are thrilled to get the chance to meet our Princess up close and personal,” said Popcorn Park General Manager John Bergmann, adding that Snooki, herself, had a chance to meet Princess face-to-face.
So, how did this 2,600-pound Bactrian become a reality star in her own right? How does a camel with no access to radio, television or the Internet decide who her favorite team is for the week?
The answer: Graham crackers.
Early each week, Bergmann writes on his hands the names of two teams competing in a weekend or Monday night game. Princess, whose favorite snack at game time or anytime is graham crackers, makes her game choice by eating the sweet treat from the hand that has the name of her favorite team written on it.
Bergmann then announces Princess’s pick on the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park Zoo website, www.ahscares.org, a few days before the game and also keeps a running tally of her wins and losses.
To know Princess and her elegant history, one would never think she would delight in football pools.
Princess was once a beloved pet of Doris Duke, who raised Princess and her sister Babe from youngsters. The pair had their own barn, which was like a mansion, and they were taken on summer vacation with Mrs. Duke to her estate in Rhode Island. If the weather became inclement, Princess and Babe were put up in the solarium.
After this devoted animal lover passed away, her camels were still kept on her estate. Babe passed away several years ago, leaving just Princess. Princess’s caretaker was about to retire to Connecticut. When it looked like she had nowhere to go, AHS took her in to the Popcorn Park Zoo, where the gentle, friendly camel has happily made her home.
When Princess is not working her football magic, she is enjoying zoo visitors, along with the hundreds of other animals who call Popcorn Park Zoo “home.” Popcorn Park Zoo was established in 1977 for the sole purpose of providing a refuge for wildlife, exotic and domestic animals that are sick, elderly, abandoned, abused, or injured. The federally licensed zoo houses more than 200 of these animals and birds in spacious surroundings on seven acres in the heart of the scenic Pine Barrens.
Popcorn Park Zoo is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on West Lacey Road, just seven miles from Exit 74 on the Garden State Parkway. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children under 12.
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