Elaine Marcin came upon a wild turkey a week ago Thursday when walking near Holy Trinity Church in North Bergen, across the street from her house. She is an animal lover and wants nothing more than for this turkey to be moved to a sanctuary, where it will be safe. No one is sure how the turkey ended up in the yard of Holy Trinity Church, but Marcin believes several animals have been uprooted by local development.
Marcin, a longtime animal activist, got in touch with former Assemblyman David Kronick, a North Bergen resident who also has been an activist in protecting animals.
“I knew him from what he does with animals,” Marcin said. “If there’s an injured duck in Braddock Park, he’s there.”
Kronick said he has helped animals by passing legislation to protect them. “It’s just part of my DNA,” he said. “I was on a committee that dealt with conservation in animal life, an environmental committee back in the legislature.”
“[Developers are] displacing these animals.” – Elaine Marcin
Marcin started contacting agencies that rescue animals, including the national Fish and Wildlife Association, Secaucus Animal Shelter, Hudson County Animal Control, New York City Audubon, the local fire department and the police department. She decided the best place is Greenbrook Sanctuary in Tenafly, which has more space than similar facilities and is no-kill.
However, according to Marcin, several of these facilities, including Greenbrook, can’t transport the turkey. She said several agencies said that they usually deal with smaller and domesticated animals.
Marcin said that she has seen animals in the area that she feels have been uprooted from their homes by development near the Palisade cliffs. She said she’s seen raccoons the size of small miniature poodles.
“They are coming into this area from the wooded area,” Marcin said. “[Developers are] displacing these animals.”
While Marcin looks for rescuers, the turkey has remained in the yard of the church. She said she has been feeding it.
Next door neighbor Abraham Issa said of the turkey, “It’s been going from the back yard [the church’s yard], my backyard, to the neighbor’s back yard.”
Marcin fears that the turkey will be harmed prior to finding an appropriate home. Already she has seen two children head into the private property of the church to chase the turkey. Neighbors have done their part and have looked out for the well-being of the turkey, she said.
“You’ve got kids that came and they were going to hurt that turkey,” said Marcin.
As of last week, she was still making calls for help.
Marcin and Kronick both said they were concerned about the cliffs, and how the local animals will fare among development.
“The Palisades Cliff goes back 200 million years and we’re going to just chop it up like we’re doing now,” said Kronick.
“It says something about our society,” Marcin said. “We no longer hold on to the basic values that made our country great. We have no respect for this earth, no respect for those that live on it. They [animals] came first. There’s no regard for the generation that’s coming. There’s nowhere to take the [kids] in schools so they can learn to appreciate nature, animals, to learn respect for life.”
Kronick and Marcin want the animals to have suitable homes, not stranded in areas where they don’t belong.
“God gives you dominion over all living things, plants and animals alike,” Marcin said. “We’ve failed to take care of the animals. When we stopped caring for the animals we lost some type of morality. We have no respect for life. We’ve lost sight of that. We’ve lost that foundation.”
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org