Jackson, Miss.—  Jackson Zoological Society animal care staff sadly announced the death of their elder Southern White rhinoceros, “Ronnie,” during the night of August 2, 2017.  Well past the life expectancy of his relatives in the wild, Ronnie spent nearly 45 years representing the majesty and power of five species of rhinos here in the United States.

Born in South Africa in February of 1973, Ronnie came to the Jackson Zoo in March of 2011 from the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida. Since then, he was often the pinnacle of the Jackson Zoo experience, being the largest living creature in the park, until younger “Big Mike” arrived in 2013.

“He was a very special animal to work with, and keepers found him very easy to care for,” said Animal Care Supervisor Willie Bennett. The past few years had seen a major increase in his needs as he got into his forties (the median age of a White or wide-lipped rhino is 34 years). Careful watch over his diet and exercise was required, as well as daily medication for arthritic joints and skin issues caused by his more limited mobility. “Even as his health was declining, Ronnie’s spirit stayed strong,” said Bennett. “He never gave up.”

Keepers described Ronnie as a gentle giant who was not shy about his love of grain or getting “a good scratch behind the ear.”  Also known to be a big fan of sweet potatoes, he loved creating and wallowing in mud ravines in his exhibit, twitching his ears around when his name was called. He was a favorite “adoptee” of members throughout the years, including a special relationship with a six-year-old rhino advocate named Mary Gayle. Every year on his birthday since 2012, her family would donate to the park, getting a special visit behind the scenes. Ronnie would come to greet the little girl when she sang to him.

 “It is with great sorrow that we share the loss of one of our rhinos, ‘Ronnie,’” Executive Director Beth Poff said. “He has been a part of the zoo for over six years, and was a big part of our special behind-the-scenes experiences for donors. His gentle impressiveness will be missed.”

In the whole world, only about 30,000 rhinos exist today. Southern White rhinos were brought back from the brink of extinction, going from 50 animals in the early 1900’s to current number of about 21,000. Although internationally banned in 1977, the resurgence of illegal poaching in 2012 keeps all five species of rhinos on the IUCN critically endangered list. There are less than 6,000 black rhinos, about 100 Sumatran rhinos, nearly 65 Javan rhinos, and only three Black rhinos remaining in their respective territories. Support for their conservation can be given by visiting or joining the Jackson Zoological Society, giving to conservation and anti-poaching organizations like savetherhino.org, or by simply spreading the awareness of plight of these amazing creatures.

 

Download PDF


read more

Jackson, Miss.—  The Jackson Zoological Society is proud to announce that they have raised the number of critically endangered red ruffed lemurs in the world by two. On Saturday, May 27th, zookeepers arrived at work in the early morning hours to discover two newborn males in the lemur night house.

The mother, “Nekena,” arrived at the Jackson Zoo in December of 2016 from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. She joined father and son, “Timmy” and “Phoenix,” respectively, as part of the red ruffed lemur Species Survival Plan.

“The 2017 Breeding and Transfer Plan was published this past February. At that time we had 187 red ruffed lemurs in the Species Survival Plan®(SSP), where we recommended 18 males and 16 females for breeding,” said Christie Eddie, Red ruffed lemur SSP Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. “We are in the midst of birthing season and these offspring are among birth reports from five SSP institutions.  I expect more to come!”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) as Critically Endangered. Found only in a small area of Madagascar, they are the most endangered type of lemur in the world due to increased cyclones, illegal logging, and the illegal exotic pet trade. According to the IUCN, there are only approximately 35 lemurs on average per square kilometer in their native habitat and declining rapidly. Less than 65% of newborn young survive to three-months of age in the wild, and there are less than 600 in zoos or refuges in the world.

 “We are absolutely delighted to see these two little ones arrive, both for our park and the species as a whole” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director, Beth Poff. “More than a third of the animals at the Jackson Zoo are either endangered or threatened, and although every birth here is special to the staff, adding numbers to an endangered species is that much more precious.”

The Jackson Zoological Society participates in Species Survival Plans for many other animals, including successful births for the Pygmy hippo and the Sumatran tiger. The Jackson Zoo also regularly submits information and samples to dozens of ongoing international studies.

It will be several months before the baby lemurs are out on exhibit, and viewing times at the Jackson Zoo Veterinary Hospital are still to be determined. Visitors and Jackson Zoo members can visit the adult lemurs during regular zoo hours (seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm), and follow the Jackson Zookeepers on Instagram (@JacksonZoo) for close-ups and behind-the-scenes photos of all the park residents. People can also “adopt” the baby lemurs (or their parents) for twelve months by contacting EJ Rivers at ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org.

For more information about the red ruff lemur, visit the Lemur Conservation Foundation online at lemurreserve.org.

 

PDF of Baby Lemur Press Release 2017

Sunday, May 27, 2017 – Red Ruffed Lemur babies


read more

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2017

Jackson, Miss.—  Trustmark has made their second donation to the Experience Zoo initiative, giving 40 Jackson Zoo family memberships to the Mississippi Army National Guard. Trustmark officials will be officially presenting the annual passes to the 185th Command at a press conference on Thursday, June 1st, at 10:30 am at the Dino exhibit of the Jackson Zoo, 2918 West Capitol Street.

Trustmark is committed to investing in the future of building stronger communities in its footprint. They were the inaugural sponsor of Experience Zoo in the summer of 2016, purchasing annual Jackson Zoo passes for employees of the City of Jackson police and fire departments.  Trustmark then issued a challenge to other local companies, and were joined in the program by Southern Farm Bureau, Nix-Tann, and Whataburger, who sponsored 172nd MS Air National Guard Families.

“The zoo’s natural scenery can give families under the daily stress of public service a neutral space to bond, reconnect, and gather with other families for support, as well as receive discounts on zoo programs and at local restaurants,” said Jackson Zoo Development Director Trey Jones. “Experience Zoo honors our public servants by allowing their families to receive all the benefits of the zoo at no cost to them, and the park receives the necessary revenue for daily operations.”

Outreach Services at the MS Army National Guard supports thousands of Military Families in the state, and knew their dependents could benefit from Experience Zoo. When Jones reached out to Trustmark on behalf of the 185th Aviation Brigade, the financial services institution didn’t hesitate to recommit to the program.

“At Trustmark, we strive to be actively engaged in community initiatives that support Military Families,” Trustmark Director of Marketing and Communications Melanie Morgan stated. “They sacrifice so much for our freedoms, it really is our honor to give our local service members an opportunity to make memories with their families in a recreational and educational environment.”

“On behalf of the MS National Guard Outreach Services team, we are honored to partner with the Jackson Zoo and Trustmark as they support our Service Members and their Families who serve our great state and nation,” said Lt. Col. Deidre Smith, Director MSNG Outreach Services.

“For nearly a century, the Jackson Zoo has been a safe space for families to spend quality time together that is both fun and educational, bringing people together in the natural environment,” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff. “Experience Zoo was created to help more families, and we love seeing it in action.”

Local media and visitors are invited out on June 1st to commemorate both Trustmark’s continued community involvement, and the Military Families who dedicate their lives to service. Immediately following the presentation of memberships, representatives from all three organizations will be available for comments: Art Stevens, President of Retail Banking, and Pam Hart, Vice President, Community Relations, of Trustmark;  LTC James “Brandon” Haynie, PhD., 185th Commander, MSNG, and LTC Deidre Smith, Director of Outreach Services MSNG;  and Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff.

For more information about Trustmark’s community outreach, please email Trustmark Director of Marketing and Communications Melanie Morgan at mmorgan@trustmark.com or call 601-208-2979.

To learn more about the MS National Guard Outreach Services, please contact LTC Deidre Smith, Director, by calling 601.313.6422, or sending an email to deidre.d.smith8.mil@mail.mil.

To find out how to support Experience Zoo, contact Trey Jones, Development Director for the Jackson Zoo, at 601-352-2580 ext 225, or email tjones@jacksonzoo.org.

###

The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America, and certified by the Better Business Bureau. The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and conservation.  For more information, visit The Jackson Zoo online at jacksonzoo.org, or on facebook.com/JacksonZoo

 

Exp Zoo TM 185 PR2017


read more

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2017

Jackson, Miss.—  Between the rapidly growing Mississippi craft beer culture and the recent arrival of the three-month Dinos exhibit, this year’s 10th Annual Jackson Zoo Brew will truly be bigger than ever. Thanks to Capital City Beverages, BankPlus, Bradley Arent Boult Cummings, and Lady Luck Casino, this age 21 and up event will feature a homebrew competition and over 80 different craft beers this Friday, April 7, 2017, from 6-9 pm.

Guests will receive a Zoo Brew souvenir tasting cup, unlimited tasting of craft beer and free food from 10 local restaurants while supplies last. VIP ticket holders not only receive early entry but will also enjoy encounters from the Jackson Zoo Ambassador Animals, and help judge the Home Brew Competition with Raise Your Pints. Lucky Town Brewery will also showcase the “Get T-Rex’d” IPA created especially for the Jackson Zoo. Cathead Distillery and Fondren Public will be serving specialty cocktails, and local restaurant favorites like Fenian’s, Martin’s, Hal & Mal’s, The Iron Horse Grill, The Pig & Pint, The Manship, Sal & Phil’s, The Bulldog, Johnny T’s, and Billy’s Original Foods will be sampling signature dishes with help from US Foods and Pepsi/Brown Bottling. The Annual Tyson Wing Eating Competition and Cook-off will take place at the Gertrude C Ford Wildlife Adventures Theater, culminating in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies, as well as a decision for Best Wings.

The zoo animals will remain on exhibit until dusk, and then beer aficionados can spend the rest of the evening with the lifelike animatronic dinosaurs from Billings Productions. (Jackson Zoo Dinos 2017 is sponsored by Regions, M3A Architecture, United HealthCare Community Plan of MS, Puckett Machinery, and Martinson’s Garden Works of Ridgeland.) Ambience will be provided by Davaine Lighting, as well as live music from AJC & the Envelope Pushers, DJ Young Venom, Chris Gill and Joe Carroll. This year’s signature art was again created by the award-winning Mad Genius, with the posters and flyers courtesy of Alliance Printing. Radio sponsors Y101 and MIX 98.7 will also be on site. Guests can also help raise additional funds for the zoo by entering a raffle featuring prizes from Lady Luck Hotel & Casino, Buffalo Peak Outfitters and Capital City Beverages.

Along with Zoo Party in September, Zoo Brew is one of the Jackson Zoological Society’s two annual adults-only fundraisers. From a small beginning in 2007 of 80 attendants, to last year’s total of around 1,500, the event has grown along with the craft beer industry. At least 14 craft breweries operate in Mississippi, and according to the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, the craft beer industry is now worth $56 billion nationally.

“The first couple of years, it was just a few samples for a local craft beer audience, barely breaking even,” says Executive Director Beth Poff. “But Zoo Brew has become THE fundraising party for the Jackson Zoological Society, raising more than $50,000. With the support of Raise Your Pints and the expanding craft beer community, it is becoming a signature beer event for the State of Mississippi.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance online at jacksonzoo.org. General Admission is $40 per person, $45 day of event, VIP tickets are $70 each, and Designated Driver tickets can be purchased for $20. Parking is free, and IDs will be checked at the gate. All proceeds will apply to the General Fund of the Jackson Zoological Society.

###

The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Zoological Association of America, and certified by the Better Business Bureau. The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and conservation.  For more information, visit The Jackson Zoo online at jacksonzoo.or, or on facebook.com/JacksonZoo

 

PRESS RELEASE Zoo Brew 2017


read more

Jackson, Miss.—  The Jackson Zoo is once again bringing the pre-historic era back to “life” inside the park on April 1, 2017 so people can “See the Past and Protect the Future.” Thanks to Regions, United HealthCare Community Plan of Mississippi, and M3A Architecture, dino fans of all ages will see nearly life-sized and moving replicas of the ancient creatures during a three-month event that will help raise funds and awareness for endangered species.

Dinosaurs first visited the the Jackson Zoo back in 2004, and it was exciting for both staff and guests alike. With the advancement of technology in the past decade, a new generation will get to witness more than twelve free-standing exhibits that move, breathe, and even spit water within sight of guests.

 “People have always mentioned how much they loved the dinos when they were kids,” said Executive Director Beth Poff. “We saw an opportunity to bring them back – with an upgrade – that’s both fun and educational regarding currently endangered animals. The Red pandas, Sumatran tigers, and the White rhinos are all animals that might end up like the dinosaurs if humans don’t intervene.”

Not only will the replicas from The Dinosaur Company (Billings Productions) be taking over a large section of the zoo, but they will also be over-shadowing the events between April 1 and July 2. Members will get a special preview with Doughnuts & Dinos with Dunkin Donuts; the 10th Annual Zoo Brew beer festival with Capital City Beverages will be HUGE; plus there will even be Dino Zoo Camps, Dino Night Hikes, Dino Birthday Parties, and special days highlighting conservation and endangered species.

In addition, several local attractions will be sharing the pre-historic experience. With the Visit Jackson Pre-HisTOURist Pass, people can go on a DINO TOUR in the Metro and finish with a free treat! Guests who visit The Jackson Zoo AND the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (“Be The Dino”), plus either the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame OR the Clinton Community Nature Center, can get a free “Dino Dessert” with purchase at either Sal & Mookie’s, Broad Street Bakery Café, or the Manship in the Belhaven. The special rack cards will be available at all locations starting March 10th.

There will be special admission charge at the Jackson Zoo during the limited time event, which will be an additional $2 per entry for daily admission or member visits between April 1 and July 2 of 2017. Members will have an opportunity to purchase a special Dino Pass at a discounted rate during March and April to add to their annual membership account.

Open PDF

 


read more