Jackson, Miss.— The Jackson Zoo is honored to receive the Quarter Century Award which recognizes 25 years of continuous accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Executive Director Beth Poff received a letter and plaque from the AZA awarding the zoo with the Quarter Century Award. The Jackson Zoo became an AZA member in 1989 and has held accreditation for the past 25 years. AZA accreditation is awarded to members based on high standards of animal care, conservation, education, safety, guest services and more.  

“AZA accreditation is a great honor within itself, to be recognized for over 25 years of continued accreditation with the AZA is an outstanding honor that we are very proud to be part of,” said Beth Poff, Director of the Jackson Zoo.

The AZA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1924, with a mission to set high standards for institutions and advance conservation, animal care, and public engagement. There are approximately 2,800 institutions licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture with less than 10% that are AZA accredited.

In the attached photo, Jackson Zoo proudly displays the Quarter Century Award to share this milestone with members and guests.


The Jackson Zoo is excited to announce it welcomed a newborn Bornean orangutan on Nov. 22.

Jackson Zoo residents Sabah and Pumpkin gave birth to a healthy newborn on Sunday, Nov. 22 in the early morning hours. Animal care staff found the baby when they checked on the pair during their morning routine.

According to Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield, the newborn appears to be healthy and doing well. The newborn is confirmed to be a male and a name for him will be chosen during a naming contest. Jackson Zoo staff is excited to welcome a new addition to the animal collection and contribute to the Species Survival Plan of this endangered species.

“We are very excited for this birth, as the Bornean orangutan population is dwindling in the wild, we are contributing to the conservation of this incredible species,” Zoo Director Beth Poff said.

Sabah came to the Jackson Zoo in April 2013 from the Pittsburgh Zoo. She formed a close relationship with our male orangutan, Pumpkin, during their first face-to-face meeting. Sabah, also nicknamed Kimmie, has shown to be an exceptional mother to the newborn and is very tentative to his needs.

Sabah has only made one brief appearance outside since giving birth last week. When you visit the zoo be on the lookout for mom and baby, you may catch her sneaking outside to show a peak of her newborn son.

Bornean Orangutans are classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, with less than 55,000 in the wild. Palm oil farming is the biggest threat to this species, where forests are burned down and orangutan lives are sacrificed. The Jackson Zoo supports conservation efforts through multiple avenues in hopes of sustaining the orangutan population.

Today the Jackson Zoo is participating in Giving Zoo Day in partnership with Giving Tuesday, which is a nationwide campaign to bring awareness to Zoos’ needs. Bornean orangutans are one of 15 endangered species at the Jackson Zoo that you can support when you donate to the zoo. The Jackson Zoo’s Giving Zoo Day goal is to reach its online giving goal of $5,000 for 2015 and to bring awareness to long-term growth and stability through endowment funds setup with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. For more information visit: www.jacksonzoo.org/support/donate


Belhaven University Conducts Vital Research for Jackson Zoo

September 1, 2015 (Jackson, Miss.) – Belhaven University and the Jackson Zoo are partnering together for an important project that benefits both institutions. Over the next year, 300 Belhaven students in the science program will be collecting research-based data around the zoo grounds in a real-life science project. The zoo will then use that information to develop their conservation efforts and future improvements, said to double the facility’s size and include new exhibits and parking.

“We are so excited to have the assistance of our nearby neighbor Belhaven University,” said Beth Poff, Executive Director of Jackson Zoo. “The input of professors and students doing real projects at the zoo, in the field, is a support that can’t be measured in dollars.”

Poff believes the Jackson Zoo should be a shining example of conservation in the state and the data from Belhaven will give them the tools they need to remain good stewards of the environment. The Biology Club and American Chemical Society at Belhaven are designing the research methods that will determine the environmental quality and functionality of the zoo and its surrounding grounds

Students will conduct studies in areas of energy, water, mapping and waste management to help the zoo best manage and conserve its natural resources as they grow. The students will also conduct natural and wildlife surveys of the zoo grounds. This preliminary research project is a first for both institutions and could lead to future partnerships with Belhaven as well as other local colleges and the zoo.

Dr. Reid Bishop, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Division Chair of Natural Sciences, said, “Our research will assist the zoo in the development of a long term strategic plan that will make their operation and master plan more sustainable with a lower environmental footprint.” The results will give the Jackson Zoo a developed project protocol and strategic plan, a series of electronic and hard copies of GIS maps, data tables, graphs and descriptions of the experimental methodology.

“The Jackson Zoo is a wonderful resource for education and we are pleased for this opportunity to serve the needs of the zoo through this important partnership,” said Dr. Roger Parrott, President of Belhaven University. “We are deeply committed to the city of Jackson, and this is a wonderful way we can enrich the quality of life and education for our community, while allowing our students to put their learning into practice.”

The science professors at Belhaven are adding their expertise to the zoo’s development team and will assist in project planning, data analysis and student workers. The zoo will also have access to Belhaven’s state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation that includes computing resources, sampling equipment and analytical instrumentation.

In return, Belhaven faculty and staff will utilize the grounds, educational facilities and professional expertise of the Jackson Zoo to engage science majors and no-majors in research projects. This partnership supports the University’s mission to teach science through good stewardship and civic engagement opportunities. The zoo plans to work with others in the community such as local environmental and chemical consultant firm, Biotactus, LLC and other private donors.



The City of Jackson and Zoo Area Progressive Partnership have finally wrapped production on new directional signs for the Jackson Zoo on Wednesday.

The need for new directional signs was recognized eight years ago as more people were calling with need of directions, and the older signs had faded and were no longer useful.

During conversations with the support group ZAPP (Zoo Area Progressive Partnership) about adding banners along Capitol Street, the need for directional signage again came up as a higher need. Marcia Reed, President of ZAPP and zoo staff contacted the City and began working with staff there on getting a design approved and funding for printing and installation.

“The Zoo Area Progressive Partnership (ZAPP) membership is very excited to see the new directional signs for the Jackson Zoo. The purpose of ZAPP is to support the Jackson Zoo through community improvement projects and to promote the revitalization of the Capitol Street corridor and surrounding communities.  The new sign project is something we have been working closely with Beth Poff, Zoo Director and the City of Jackson to finalize. It is wonderful to see this much needed upgrade in our neighborhood.   We greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved to bring this project to completion,” Marcia Reed, ZAPP Board President said.

The Jackson Zoo went through a rebranding look in 2013 with the help of Mad Genius, and it was agreed that the new brand would work well in the directionals. The City of Jackson funded the project in 2013 and the printing was completed in 2015 with installations beginning May 20.

“We appreciate the City of Jackson’s support in installing these new way finding signs. We recognize that the City too understands the importance of tourism and the need for success of local attractions,” Zoo Director Beth Poff said.  

The directional signs are located on the four main corridors: Woodrow Wilson, Clinton Boulevard, Capitol Street, and Ellis Avenue.

Poff also added, “Not only will these new directionals help visitors find their way to the zoo, it will also serve as a reminder for locals to come visit!”

The Jackson Zoo is open daily 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Military members and their families will be given ½ off admission on Memorial Day, May 25. The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and conservation.

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Guest Services Manager, Sheba Moses, helps the City install the new directional signs. Thank you City of Jackson & ZAPP!

Posted by The Jackson Zoo on Friday, May 22, 2015

The Jackson Zoo Establishes Endowment Fund with Community Foundation of Greater Jackson

Jackson, Miss. – The Jackson Zoo has created an endowment fund and operating reserve with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson to help elevate the long-term growth and stability of the Jackson Zoo’s future.

The Zoo wanted to establish an endowment fund and operating reserve to allow the opportunity for philanthropists and other Mississippians who care deeply about the Jackson Zoo to invest in the long-term future of the Zoo. With the initial contributions of Crymes Pittman, Dr. William (Bill) Aden, and Ellen and Charles Johnson, the zoo was able to establish a starting point to open these funds and begin the process to allow the public to invest in the zoo, as well.

An endowment fund is made up of gifts and bequests that are subject to a requirement that the principal be maintained intact and invested to create a source of income for an organization. An operating reserve is recognized as one of the key ingredients to the financial stability of a non-profit organization and can serve as an internal line of credit when needed to cover the normal fluctuations of day-to-day operations.

“We are excited to be starting this partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson.  They exist to be a source of community capital benefiting the residents of Jackson, and we as the Jackson Zoo look to them to assist us in planning a long term future.  We wanted to give our supporters a way to give, that not only supports our education and conservation missions, but to also help us reach a goal of sustainability,” Zoo Director, Beth Poff said.

The Jackson Zoo has a long standing relationship with CFGJ through grants and constituents who have supported the zoo’s educational programs, conservation efforts and zoo operations. Director of Major Gifts and Annual Fund, Josh Friedel said, “I’ve known many of the principle members of CFGJ for many years now and they have a true heart for non-profit organizations and ensuring they have the proper institutions in place in order to be wildly successful.”

One advantage of having this system in place is that anyone can leave their legacy at the zoo by way of life insurance policies, property, stock options, bequests, estate holdings, and other types of major contributions. Another advantage is that it will aid the zoo in the process of major upgrades such as master planning projects and major long-term upgrades for the Jackson Zoo.

The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and conservation.