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.

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Press Release 
January 27, 2017                                                                                                                                                               

Jackson, Miss.— The Jackson Zoological Society is excited to formally announce the birth of an endangered Pygmy hippopotamus in the zoo’s African Forest area, offspring of four-year-old male, “Ralph,” and eight-year-old female, “Clementine.” Listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature List of Threatened Species (or IUCN Red List), this particular offspring has been anticipated for years. Jackson Zoo staff has named the young female “Zemora,”which means “praised” or “song.”

Jackson Zookeepers practice non-invasive animal care protocol with almost all the resident species, allowing them as natural an existence as possible. There were indications that Clementine was pregnant, but there are no current testing methods available. Most experts theorize gestation is anywhere from 190 to 210 days, any time of year. Keeper suspicions were confirmed when they arrived in the early morning hours of December 25th (the only day the zoo is closed to the public), and discovered the infant female resting comfortably with its mother.

“Births at the zoo are always exciting, and we are especially excited about the birth of a Pygmy hippo,” said Executive Director Beth Poff. “This species is one that breeds well in captivity, which means the survival of the species is more assured than in the wild. This is an example of zoos making a difference!”

Zemora weighed 11 lbs. at birth, and now registers at 31 lbs. going into her second month. She is already imitating her mother in foraging behavior, is very inquisitive regarding her surroundings, and swimming at every opportunity. Animal care staff do not believe that Clementine will want to bring her young out into the exhibit with Ralph for a couple of months, hoping to have her visible to guests mid-spring.

Native to the forests and swamps of West Africa (primarily Liberia), Choeropsis liberiensis is one of only two extant species of hippo, the other being their more common larger cousins. Pygmies are semi-aquatic like their kin (using water to moisturize their skin and regulate their temperature), but they are far more nocturnal and reclusive. They are difficult to locate in the wild, much less study. In fact, most of what humans have learned about this species is primarily via research in zoos and sanctuaries.

Both of the parent Pygmy hippos at the Jackson Zoo have been part of this research effort. They are subjects of an ongoing project directed by Dr. Gabriella Flacke of the University of Western Australia, who collects samples from zoos all over the world. Her study is focused on the overall health of pygmies in captivity, with special emphasis on kidney disease and reproductive health. Dr. Flacke visited the Jackson Zoo staff in February of 2016 to see Ralph and Clementine after many years of receiving scientific data, and discussed her most current findings with keepers and zoo guests. The details of Zemora’s birth will be entered into the Jackson Zoo’s next data submission to further all studies.

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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 at http://jacksonzoo.org/.

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For more info, contact EJ Rivers, Membership and Media Specialist. 601-352-2580 ext 228 or ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org.


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December 20, 2016

On December 13th, the Jackson Zoo received an official letter of accreditation from the Zoological Association of America (ZAA). The ZAA is made up of over 60 properties in the United States, including the Fort Worth Zoo, San Antonio Zoo, and Pittsburgh Zoo, among others.

Originally formed in 1987, the mission of the ZAA is “to promote responsible ownership, management, conservation, and propagation of animals in both private and public facilities through professional standards in husbandry, animal care, safety and ethics.”  ZAA accredited members are among the finest facilities in the United States, with the best safety record of any of the major zoological trade associations.

The inspection took place in November, with several members of the ZAA spending time going over the property, examining exhibits, animals and records, and meeting staff members. Properties are judged on the following criteria:

Physical Facility
Husbandry and Animal Care Practices
Record Keeping and Health Care Records
Knowledge of Animals by Personnel
Animal Diet and Nutrition
Facility Security
Veterinary Care
Licensing and Permits
Safety Plans

The letter stated that the Jackson Zoo has continued to meet all ZAA’s objectives: professional standards for husbandry and animal care practices; accurate animal and medical records; appropriate, safe, and quality existence for animals kept in a captive environment; safe environment for humans, both staff and visitors; and enhanced survival of species by the use of appropriate methods.

“ZAA accreditation standards meet or exceed all accepted industry standards,” said Jackson Zoo Director Beth Poff. “Our recognition by this organization shows that our animal care and safety standards have been and will continue to be our highest priority.”

The accreditation has been granted for the next five years, and allows Jackson Zoo staff additional support for care and husbandry of the over 200 species that reside on West Capitol. The Jackson Zoo is continuously regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Mississippi State Department of Fish & Wildlife (MSDFW).

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Jackson, Miss.— The staff of the Jackson Zoological Society, Inc.,  invites zoo members, guests, and media to join them in saying “bon voyage” to their beloved male Bornean orangutan this Saturday and Sunday, November 12 and 13. Animal care staff will be providing extra enrichment to the ape during regular park hours (9 am to 4 pm), talking to guests in front of his exhibit, and a goodbye card will be placed nearby for the public to sign. The public is also encouraged to share their favorite stories of “Pumpkin” via social media, using #JxnZooPumpkinTales.

Pumpkin is scheduled to be moved to the Houston Zoo before the end of the month to reside with a larger orangutan group. Listed in the SSP to help rebuild the species, he will hopefully mate with their resident Bornean female and continue to increase the numbers of this critically endangered species. Currently, there are less than 1,500 northern Bornean orangutans remaining in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, with their numbers declining by more than 50% over the past 60 years.

The female, “Kimmie,” was successfully relocated to the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo in September. She and her infant son with Pumpkin, “Max,” were sent to the state of the art facility after it was determined that the baby was showing signs of slow development. According to Judy Palermo, Public Relations with the Indianapolis Zoo, “Kim and Max continue to enjoy their time outdoors in a large area away from public view. Baby and mom continue to acclimate to their new home.”

Although the Jackson Zoo has had orangutans for almost 20 years, the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums made the decision in August to move the orangutans due to the breeding challenges created by the aging exhibit. The orangutan exhibit is due to be completely redesigned and replaced in the Ten Year Plan (adopted in 2015), but the needs of the animals were more time sensitive than the availability of the funds.

Jackson Zoo Director Beth Poff said, “While it is sad to bid farewell to ‘Pumpkin,’ we are at the same time happy for him to have an expanded home amidst other orangutans.  Even with the exhibit expansion in 2007, the Society always knew it was a temporary fix and not the best for a breeding situation. As always, we want what is best for the animal, and this move is a good thing.”

The Jackson Zoo staff and Board of Directors are currently conducting a feasibility study of a major funding campaign which would enable the Jackson Zoological Society to complete the Ten Year Plan. Along with new and renovated exhibits in the expanded park, the plan includes a larger, more up-to-date orangutan exhibit, which would bring the animals back into the collection.

 

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The Annual Membership Meeting held at the Jackson Zoo on Tuesday, October 18th, announced new members to the Jackson Zoo Board of Directors, and also included a ribbon cutting and special giraffe encounter.

Outgoing President Mrs. JoAnne Prichard Morris was elected for her second term, joining new board members Mr. William McElroy, Mrs. Kimberly Hardy, and Mrs. Gene Wright for 2016-2019. Board members are nominated by a committee, and are then elected to serve one or two three-year terms. Mr. Russell Turley was elected President, and Mr. Jeffrey Graves was elected Vice-president.

In addition, Mrs. Erin Shirley-Orey, Ms. Serena Wilson, and Mr. Eric Stracener concluded their second three-year terms. Each was rewarded a plaque of recognition for their service to the Jackson Zoo.

Zoo members, board members, zoo staff and their families enjoyed the park after hours, officially completing the new seating at the Gertrude C. Ford Wildlife Adventures Theater with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Maggie Bjorgum of Belinda Stewart Architects was recognized for her work, and the Gertrude C Ford Foundation, project sponsor, was honored for its continuing support of the Jackson Zoo.

Guests were also invited to a special Keeper Chat with “Casper” and “Kevin Davis Knox”, the two Reticulated giraffes that greet all park guests. Casper joined the Jackson Zoo in 2004, and will have his 13th birthday on October 31st. His now two-year-old “adopted” brother joined the zoo in June of 2015. K.D. was named in honor of Kevin Stump, CEO of Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency, and Davis Frye of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, who sponsored his arrival.

For more information regarding board nominations, elections, duties and responsibilities, please contact info@jacksonzoo.org.

 

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