October 5, 2017  Jackson, Miss.—  The Jackson Zoo is proud to announce the expansion of their partnership with St. Dominic Health Services to include the Experience Zoo! Initiative. On Tuesday, October 10th, staff of St. Dominic’s will donate annual family zoo passes to commanders of the Jackson Fire Department and the Mississippi National Guard. The Jackson Zoo will host the ceremonial transfer at 3:00 p.m. in front of their Admissions and Gift Shop at 2918 West Capitol Street in Jackson.

St. Dominic’s has been a long term supporter of annual family events at the zoo like Dream Night, Ice Cream Safari, Boo at the Zoo, and Zoo Party Unleashed, and this is their first donation to the Experience Zoo! Initiative. Through this program, businesses and organizations can purchase year-long family memberships and donate them to local military and first responders. Families of those in public service traditionally face high levels of daily stress and uncertainty under lowered financial circumstances, and can benefit from regular access to the relaxed, neutral zoo setting to unwind and reconnect. Jackson Zoo members also receive discounts on educational zoo programs, admission to other participating zoos and attractions, and dining in at select local restaurants.

“I believe that our zoo and its natural scenery creates moments of wonder, joy, and laughter throughout the year for all families, but it can be especially helpful those who dedicate their lives to the service of others,” said Jackson Zoo Director of Development Paul Griffin Jones III (Trey). “We felt compelled to go beyond flying flags and putting signs in yards, returning the love and appreciation in a tangible way. That is what the Experience Zoo! Initiative is really all about.”

“St. Dominic’s is a great example of what it means to be a community partner,” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff. “They do so much for so many, and often out of the spotlight. We look forward to publicly acknowledging their faithful friendship, and deep commitment to caring.”

Staff members of St. Dominic’s, The Jackson Zoo, the City of Jackson Fire Department, and the Mississippi National Guard will be on hand to answer questions after the membership presentation. For more information about Experience Zoo!, contact Jackson Zoo Director of Development Jones at 601-352-2580 ex 225 or tjones@jacksonzoo.org.

 

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September 15, 2017
JACKSON MS

Your Jackson Zoo needs you.
No matter what is happening outside the gates of the Jackson Zoo, there are lots of reasons inside the gates for families to donate an extra $10 or more to the only accredited live animal park in the state of Mississippi:

  • There are 375 living animals in the nearly 100 -year-old park, and 125 of them are either endangered or threatened in their origin countries. (Without human intervention, a few of these species will not be in existence in as little as 50 years.)
  • There are more than 30 humans that come in every day, no matter what, to keep these animals healthy, safe, and mentally enriched. These humans live and play with their families throughout all areas of the Metro, and many were born and raised here.

So there are actually 405 reasons that will be positively affected by your $10.

Some reasons are covered in FUR  – Like the Red Panda
“Yoda” is 12 years old and represents only 10,000 animals left of his kind. Other endangered furred species we care for are the Amur leopards, Sumatran tigers, Reticulated giraffes, Red wolves, and Colobus monkeys, to name a few.

Some reasons are covered in FEATHERS – like The Ne-Ne
These amazing geese were brought back from the brink of extinction in the 50’s, when there were only 30 animals found in their native Hawaii. The Jackson Zoological Society is part of the SSP (Species Survival Plan) to help bring the current count of 1,800 back to the original 25,000. We are also home to Macaws, Spur-winged geese, Tawny Frogmouths, Kookaburras, and Major Mitchell’s cockatoos.

Some reasons are covered in SCALES – Like The Skink
“George” is part of the Animal Ambassador program, so he is a favorite whenever our educators go off-grounds for schools, gatherings, or events. Not only do we safely educate the public on often misunderstood American alligators, Boa constrictors, Cotton-mouths, and Rattlesnakes, but also on less fearsome reptiles like the Bearded dragon, the African spurred tortoise, and local creatures that have chosen to make the zoo their home: king snakes, yellow-bellied water snakes, red-eared slider turtles, and common painted turtles.

Where Your Money Goes (jacksonzoo.org/info)
We have more than a dozen projects that are waiting for funding, on top of our daily operations which include animal food and vet care, electricity, water, and gas.

  • If 1,500 families in the Metro area would donate just $10, we could repair the Beaver exhibit.
  • If 3,000 families donated just $10, we could get a new resident for the Asian grotto, in between the Sumatran tiger and the Red panda.
  • If 10,000 Metro residents could donate just $10, we could continue the Discovery Zoo renovation, and a brand new Contact Yard would be available to children in fall of 2018.

Whether your family can spare $1, $10, or $100, every cent stays right here at the Jackson Zoo to support our efforts to give Mississippi the Great Zoo it deserves. You can use a credit or debit card online at jacksonzoo.org/support, click DONATE on facebook/JacksonZoo, or send your donation to JZS Development, 2918 West Capitol Street, Jackson MS 39209.

On behalf of the entire staff of the Jackson Zoological Society, THANK YOU for continued support, and we hope to see your family soon at YOUR Jackson Zoo!

Paul Griffin Jones, III (Trey)
Director of Development
Jackson Zoological Society

 

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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.

 

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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


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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.

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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


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