Jackson Zoo Expands Partnership With MSU’S College of Veterinary Medicine

The Jackson Zoo formalized an extended partnership with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine by signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the MSU-CVM Provost and Executive Vice President, Mayor of Jackson, and Executive Director of the Zoo, on Wednesday.

There has been a partnership in place for years, where MSU-CVM students visit the Zoo for hands-on learning about exotic medicine. With mutual goals, such as improving health and care of animals, providing quality education, and advancing research, the two institutions are expanding the current partnership by creating a formalized program that will give students the opportunity to earn credit hours through the Jackson Zoo. The Zoo’s Executive Director, Beth Poff, said she is excited to extend this partnership with MSU-CVM. (more…)

Sumatran Tiger Birth at the Jackson Zoo

On May 20th in the early morning, Sumatran tiger Sari, aged 7.5 years, gave birth to her first cub. The cub is a great success for Sumatran tiger conservation, as these tigers are critically endangered with less than an estimated 500 in the wild. During the next few weeks, the cub will open his eyes and become more mobile and potentially even start to explore the den.

The birth is a result of the recommendation from the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) that Sari mate with 7.5 year old Emerson. Jackson Zoo visitors may remember when Emerson lived with his two brothers, Taymor and Kipling until 2013 when Kipling and Taymor moved as recommended by the SSP. Kipling and Taymor are also fathers at their respective zoos.

“At the Jackson Zoo, we have a responsibility to the species in our care to conserve these amazing animals through captive breeding to preserve them from the threat of extinction in the wild. This birth is a major step towards protecting this species so that generations from now, the Sumatran tiger will remain,” said zoo director Beth Poff.

The cub will remain in the den with his mother for roughly three months before they will be ready to venture out into public view. “We have cameras in the den and so we are able to monitor mom and cub without needing to disturb either,” stated Deputy Director Dave Wetzel. He added, “Right now, Sari is doing an excellent job as a first time mother. She is nursing and grooming the cub and being a great mom.”


Sumatran tigers are found on the island of Sumatra, where there are estimated to be fewer than 500 individuals. The species is threatened by habitat loss due to the expansion of oil palm plantations. Oil palm plantations also bring more human-tiger conflicts, which usually result in tiger death. Sumatran tigers are the smallest subspecies of tiger weighing between 150-300lbs. Their main diet consists of deer, cattle, boar, and tapir. The median life expectancy is 16-19 years. People can help the Sumatran tiger by supporting organizations such as the Tiger Conservation Campaign, that research and protect the tiger. The Tiger Conservation Campaign is one of four conservation projects that the Jackson Zoo works with.

Red River Hog gives birth at the Jackson Zoo

Mother’s Day at the Zoo was a very special event, not just for mothers, but for our red river hog pair. Female Potter, aged 3 years, gave birth to 3 piglets on May 11 in the morning. This is the first litter for Potter and male, Dill, aged 2 years.

The piglets, 2 females and 1 male are currently on display with their parents in the African Forest boardwalk area of the Jackson Zoo. The piglets will remain with the pair for the foreseeable future. The piglets are approximately 2-3 pounds and have a distinctive striped and spotted coat. Their coloration helps them camouflage with the dappled sunlight that would come through the forest canopy. As they grow, they will lose the stripes and become the rusty red of adult coloration.

Red River Hogs are found in forested areas of western Africa, mainly in the coastal countries of Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria. They generally prefer areas near rivers, streams, or swamps. They will live in family groups typically of 6-20 members, led by a dominant male, or boar. Mostly nocturnal, they search the forest floor for food, rooting for tubers and roots, as well as eating fruit, grasses, insects, and occasionally carrion.

Red River Hogs are listed as Least Concern through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There are no immediate major threats to red river hogs; however hunting has led to localized decline.

Sad Loss for Jackson Zoo

Jackson Zoo is sad to share that one of the eight red wolf pups born March 30 was injured sometime late Thursday. After consulting with zoo veterinarian Dr. Holifield, senior zoo staff decided the injury was too severe and painful so the male pup was euthanized that evening. The remaining seven pups are all doing well and the naming event for the pups scheduled for Saturday at 11:00am will still be held.

Red Wolf Pups Get Their Names

This Saturday, May 10 at 11am, the red wolf pups that were born this March will be getting their names. Representatives from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will be on location to reveal the Choctaw names, as well as a storyteller and Choctaw dancers.


The press conference will include remarks from Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff, Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and City of Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. Choctaw storyteller Ms. Evaline Davis will tell the ‘Shokka Annopa’ (Pig Tales) of the ‘Nashoba hicha Shokkata’ (The Wolf and the Possum); Choctaw Social dancers will perform two animal dances and the 2013-2014 Choctaw Indian Princess Lanena Grace John will announce the given Chata names to the Red Wolf pups.


The eight red wolf pups were born on March 30 to mother Taluda and father Kanati, both Cherokee. This litter is being given Choctaw names in honor of the only federally recognized tribe in the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The names were chosen by students of the six tribal elementary schools, Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, and the Choctaw Elderly Center and are based on the personality and physical attributes of the pups.


Once common throughout the eastern and south-central United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the early part of the 20th century as a result of intensive predator control programs and the degradation and alteration of the species’ habitat. An intensive recovery began with the remaining 14 wolves. Today, more than 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina and nearly 200 red wolves are maintained in facilities throughout the United States. The species is managed by a Species Survival Plan which coordinates the breeding of captive wolves to be introduced into the wild. Captive-born pups like the ones born at Jackson Zoo play a critical role for future breeding and potentially as candidates to be introduced into the wild.