Press Room



Comcast Cares Day Volunteers Come to Jackson Zoo on April 21st

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in General, News | Comments Off on Comcast Cares Day Volunteers Come to Jackson Zoo on April 21st

JACKSON MS – April 13, 2018   The Jackson Zoological Society is honored to be one of several non-profits in the Metro area chosen for Comcast Cares Day 2018 on Saturday, April 21st. This the 17th year for America’s largest single-day corporate service event, with volunteers comprised of local Comcast NBCUniversal employees, families, and friends helping community organizations around the world. At 8 a.m. on the 21st, Jackson’s Comcast Cares volunteers will embark on the Comcast Cares 2018 Jackson Zoo Beautification project.   Comcast volunteers of all ages will be assisting with spring cleaning tasks, like washing public spaces and fixtures. A few will be specifically focused in the area of the on-site veterinary hospital, and another anticipated project will be the building of picnic benches for public use in shaded areas throughout the zoo.    In addition, the Comcast Foundation is making a monetary donation on behalf of each volunteer that signs up. This provides much needed financial assistance as well as time, skills, and service to many of these family-oriented and educational non-profits.   “We are so pleased by Comcast’s joining our Zoo Crew and Zoo Teens for the day,” said Jackson Zoological Society Executive Director Beth Poff. “Volunteers are a necessity to an organization like the Jackson Zoo, and this particular day of service will allow our staff to move forward in other project areas sooner than anticipated. The Comcast family is enabling the Jackson Zoo family to further our mission of quality animal care, education, and conservation.”   Volunteer opportunities for April 21st, and the preceding week, are still available by registering online, emailing Volunteer Coordinator Stacy Crain, or calling at 601.352.2580 ext 240.    Read more about Comcast Cares and the Comcast Foundation in the official Comcast NBCUniversal press...

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Jackson Zoological Society Approves Recommendation for Next Step towards New Zoo

Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoological Society Approves Recommendation for Next Step towards New Zoo

March 27, 2018 Jackson, Miss. –  Today, the Board of Directors for the Jackson Zoological Society accepted and approved a task force recommendation to find a more optimal location for the animals and their visitors within the city of Jackson. The task force, comprised of zoo board members, local business leaders, city representatives, and city residents, spent months assessing the results of several feasibility studies compiled over the past decade. The final recommendation was to investigate the adaptation of 25 acres at the LeFleur’s Bluff State Park into a new zoological and family attraction….   Download as...

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Jackson Zoo Welcomes Asiatic Black Bear

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Welcomes Asiatic Black Bear

Dec. 18, 2017 Jackson, Miss.—  Animal care staff at the Jackson Zoo are pleased to announce the arrival of a new species to the park at 2918 West Capitol Street, the Asiatic black bear. Two-year-old “Meeko” arrived in late November from the Metro Richmond Zoo in Mosely, Virginia, and has been getting to know his keepers and new home… READ...

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Belhaven University and Jackson Zoo Expand Their Educational Partnership

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in General, News | Comments Off on Belhaven University and Jackson Zoo Expand Their Educational Partnership

Belhaven and Jackson Zoo sign a Memorandum of Understanding on December 1 Jackson, Miss.—  Belhaven University and the Jackson Zoological Society, Inc., proudly announced the continuation and expansion of their long-term partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday, December 1st. Members of both organizations came together at the Gertrude C. Ford Education Center at the Jackson Zoo to celebrate their ongoing educational relationship.   Per the memorandum, staff and students of the Jackson Zoo and Belhaven University “will develop and expand a framework of cooperation to develop mutually beneficial programs, projects, and activities.” Their partnership will promote, encourage, explore, and share information and resources at both organizations. The expansion will focus on all aspects of education, blending science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and conservation of wildlife and the environment in formal and informal settings.   “We are so pleased to be a part of such a tremendous opportunity for both our staff and students,” said Dr. Roger Parrott, President of Belhaven University. “The Jackson Zoo is such an important resource. Visiting the zoo is not just about entertainment, it is an educational treasure.”   Belhaven University has agreed to open their campus to zoo staff and students, share research and new technologies and information, and promote the zoo’s educational and conservational messages and programs. The Jackson Zoo Education Department will allow Belhaven staff and students training and research opportunities on zoo grounds, as well as access to information and programs for staff and students to aid their educational gains.   Beth Poff, Executive Director of the zoo, said, “The Jackson Zoological Society is thrilled to formalize the partnership already underway with Belhaven University. Making use of our facilities for formal and informal science and technology is something that we are especially proud of.”   The Jackson Zoo is dedicated to wildlife care and conservation, and Belhaven University provides a Christian liberal arts education focused on life and leadership. The two also share a strong foundation in the life sciences and technological advances that can benefit both human and animal experience. In fact, Belhaven students were integral to a water-quality study over the past two years (lead by educators Dr. Reid Bishop and Dr. Elizabeth Brandon), which was an important source of information for animals and guests during an emergency water situation in 2017, providing important data that helped the zoo’s conservation efforts.   For more information about Belhaven University, contact David Sprayberry, Public Relations, at...

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Jackson Zoo Deeply Saddened by Unexpected Death of Giraffe

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Deeply Saddened by Unexpected Death of Giraffe

Staff of the Jackson Zoological Society are sad to announce the death of “Casper,” the 14-year-old Reticulated giraffe who had been greeting visitors since his arrival at the zoo in November of 2004. He died on Sunday afternoon, October 29th, due to complications from urinary blockage. His keepers witnessed changes in his behavior, and they immediately notified Jackson Zoo veterinarian team, technician Donna Todd, and Doctors Michael and Beckey Holifield. After close observation and testing, they suspected that he might suffer from bladder stones. Since any illness in giraffes can be serious due to their size and build, keepers and the vet team made every effort to resolve the issues and put him back on a healthy track. His condition seemed to improve, as he was seen actively engaging with younger adopted brother, “Knox.” Unfortunately, Casper’s improvement was temporary, and he died behind the scenes with his animal care staff present. “The male giraffe, Casper, was diagnosed as having urinary stones with a blockage and despite medical management and nutritional changes he did not improve,” said Dr. Michael Holifield in a statement.  “An attempt to surgically remove the stones was unsuccessful.”  Casper was born in Milwaukee in 2003, and joined the Jackson Zoo when he was one year old. Casper became an icon of the Jackson Zoo experience, as he was almost always the very first animal encountered when guests entered the gates. Unfortunately, zoo staff has also been adjusting to the loss of the female Amur leopard, “Katya,” who had to be euthanized on October 15th. She had been exhibiting signs of extreme age related issues for some time, and her keepers monitored her closely. When her behavior indicated a serious quality of life decline, her caregivers made the difficult decision to let her go. Katya was born at the Pittsburg Zoo in 2000, and had joined the Asian area of the Jackson Zoo in November of 2005. She and her surviving mate, “Nicolai,” were part of the Amur Leopard Species Survival Program. They have a female offspring in Cape May Zoo, NJ. “Life and death, occurring for all living things, is part of the day to day experience in any zoo,” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff.  “Every animal’s passing is felt, especially with the ones that our guests see as long time ‘celebrities.’  It will be sad to no longer greet ‘Casper’ as we enter the zoo, he will be missed.” Download...

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St. Dominic Health Services Joins Experience Zoo! for Jackson Fire Department and MS National Guard

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in General, News | Comments Off on St. Dominic Health Services Joins Experience Zoo! for Jackson Fire Department and MS National Guard

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.   Download PDF...

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Jackson Zoo Asks Metro Families For Just $10 to Help Recoup from 2017 Budget Cuts

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Asks Metro Families For Just $10 to Help Recoup from 2017 Budget Cuts

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...

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Jackson Zoo Mourns Passing of Ronnie the White Rhino

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Mourns Passing of Ronnie the White Rhino

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...

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Critically Endangered Red Ruffed Lemur Gives Birth at Jackson Zoo

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Critically Endangered Red Ruffed Lemur Gives Birth at Jackson Zoo

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...

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Trustmark Gives Families of the 185th MS Army National Guard the Jackson Zoo Experience

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in General, News | Comments Off on Trustmark Gives Families of the 185th MS Army National Guard the Jackson Zoo Experience

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...

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