Press Room



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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Jackson Zoo Brew Celebrates 10 Years of Craft Beer Friday April 7th

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Brew Celebrates 10 Years of Craft Beer Friday April 7th

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...

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Dinos to Visit Jackson Zoo Spring of 2017

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Dinos to Visit Jackson Zoo Spring of 2017

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...

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Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born at Jackson Zoo

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born at Jackson Zoo

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. ### 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/. PDF Form For more info, contact...

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Jackson Zoo Receives Accreditation from Zoological Association of America

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Receives Accreditation from Zoological Association of America

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). PDF Version...

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Jackson Zoo Says Goodbye to Bornean Orangutan “Pumpkin” Nov 12 & 13

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Says Goodbye to Bornean Orangutan “Pumpkin” Nov 12 & 13

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.   PDF...

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Jackson Zoo Welcomes 2016-2019 Board of Directors

Posted by on Oct 23, 2016 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Welcomes 2016-2019 Board of Directors

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.   Dowload PDF...

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Questions about AZA Resignation

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in General, News | Comments Off on Questions about AZA Resignation

Lots of people are asking questions about what resigning from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums means for the Jackson Zoo. In order to better help everyone understand what this is all about, here are the most asked questions and the answers regarding the Jackson Zoo Boards recent decision. “What is the AZA?” The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a group of zoo and animal care professionals that have agreed on a level of standards for zoos regarding animal care, facilities, business structure and financing, development, conservation, and species survival. It is well respected, and can make certain aspects of running a zoo easier. The Jackson Zoo plans to re-apply as soon as possible, but until that time, we still work with other AZA zoos and professionals. In fact, key members of zoo staff remain a part of the AZA organization, and ALL staff remain dedicated to the practices and policies of the AZA. “Will we lose animals on loan from other zoos?” Not that we know of. The Jackson Zoo Deputy Director has talked to many of the zoos that we currently work with. No one has given any indication that they would request the return of their animals, and are understanding and empathetic to our course of action. It also follows that the Jackson Zoo will not request the return of any animals we have on loan to AZA zoos. Our level of animal care is not in question.   “Is the Jackson Zoo failing/closing?” No. Daily operations will not experience any change, and currently scheduled 2016 activities are a go, plus events for 2017 and beyond are in concrete planning stages. COMING UP: Thursday, we have PokemonGO Safari from 5-7:30. $5 for general admission, $3 for members September 3-5 is Frozen Treat Animal Enrichment Weekend, 3 days of keepers doling out frozen treats to their animals (regular admission). September 22 is Zoo Party Unleashed at Highland Village. Also to come is Boo at the Zoo in October and Cookies with Santa in December. The Jackson Zoo Board of Directors unveiled the Ten Year Plan for a “new zoo” at the end of 2015, and part of the decision to formally resign from the AZA for a brief period is to make that plan a reality. In the coming two to three years, we will be building the financial stability to step into our second century and fulfill the vision of how our currently good zoo can become...

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Jackson Zoo Resigns from Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Resigns from Association of Zoos & Aquariums

The Board of Directors of the Jackson Zoological Society voted unanimously to resign its membership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), sending a resignation letter on Friday, August the 19th. Zoo staff, with the support of the Board, will work over the next two-three years to identify a funding structure that supports its recently completed facility master plan and strengthen its organizational and financial model. The Zoo anticipates that it will  re-apply to be a member of the AZA once the integrated funding, organizational and financials models are in place. Over the past 25 years, zoo staff has worked diligently to address the needs of an aging facility, while ensuring the highest standards of animal care. Going forward, Zoo staff will continue to focus on upgrading and transforming the zoo, working to broaden and strengthen its relationships with the philanthropic community, as well as its partnership with the City of Jackson. Jackson Zoo and its staff have tremendous respect for all of its great colleagues representing AZA-accredited institutions across the country. Zoo staff will continue to work with them in the future, ensuring that the animals that call Jackson Zoo home continue to receive the highest standards of care, which have always been central to the Zoo’s efforts. The Jackson Zoo remains regulated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Mississippi State Department of Fish & Wildlife...

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