New Jersey groundhog dies day before annual prediction

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(Space Farms Zoo & Museum)

(New Jersey Herald)

WANTAGE, N.J.  — A New Jersey zoo’s Groundhog Day had a pall cast over it after its groundhog died.

Parker Space told the New Jersey Herald that he discovered Stonewall IV had died when he went to clean him Monday ahead of Tuesday’s planned annual photo op.

Space, a state assemblyman whose family owns Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Wantage Township, says the cause of Stonewall IV’s death remains unclear. He was between 6 and 7 years old.

Stonewall IV hasn’t always been in sync with the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. He disagreed with his weather predictions in each of the last four years.

The family farm has held Groundhog Day festivities for nearly 25 years. The tradition comes from a Pennsylvania German custom dating back to the 18th century.