Press Room

Missy the Chimpanzee Matriarch Will Be Missed

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Missy the Chimpanzee Matriarch Will Be Missed

AUGUST 12, 2016 Jackson MS Animal care staff at the Jackson Zoo sadly announced the death of “Missy,” the chimpanzee matriarch, during the evening hours of Tuesday, August 9th. Born on August 10th, 1980, keepers would have celebrated her 36th birthday in the following days. Missy was mate to the late Jojo, mother to Pablo (born 1990, currently on loan to the Sacramento Zoo), and mother to Mojo (current Jackson Zoo visitor favorite, born 2009). Missy was the second chimp ever born at the Jackson Zoo, and was named “Miss” in honor of her home state. Animal care staff says she had a serene demeanor, and was the primary peace keeper of the chimp colony. Whether calming her rambunctious son, or breaking up squabbles between the other female chimps, her island companions showed her great respect. She was also normally first in line for treats, and was known for blowing “raspberries” at keepers when treats were not handed over immediately. Getting misted by the water hose on hot summer afternoons was also high on her list of favorite activities. Average age for a chimpanzee is anywhere from 30 to 40 years. Missy had been under veterinary watch for some routine medical issues, but her death was unexpected. A full necropsy will be performed to determine the exact cause. Animal Curator Willie Bennett, working for over 40 years at the Jackson Zoo, cared for her throughout her life. “Miss was very observant at a very early age. She was very inquisitive about anything new she came across. There were a lot of traits she picked up from her parents that made her a great mother, also,” said Bennett. “She will be missed by everyone that worked with her over the years.” Visitors can still see her son, Mojo, and the female chimps, Binti, Maebell, and Arby, every day from 9 am to 4 pm except December 25th. For more information about chimpanzees, check out...

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Trustmark Inaugurates Experience Zoo! Initiative Benefitting Public Service Workers

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in General, News, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Trustmark Inaugurates Experience Zoo! Initiative Benefitting Public Service Workers

JULY 25, 2016 Jackson MS Longtime partners Trustmark and the Jackson Zoo have expanded their relationship with the Experience Zoo! Initiative. This new sponsorship opportunity expresses gratitude to hardworking local families of public servants, who often face challenges created by limited interaction or even distance. Funded by businesses and organizations, this program acknowledges the dedication and sacrifice of both the individual and their loved ones by giving them opportunities for healthy quality family time whenever their busy schedules allow. Trustmark has always been a leader in its efforts to find new ways to support organizations and programs in the communities they serve. All donations are pooled into a fund that purchases annual family memberships for recipients selected by department heads. Each membership allows two adults and four children unlimited admission during regular business hours for one year, a $65 value. The membership also allows discounted educational programs and recreational rentals, discounted purchases at the zoo’s Trading Post gift shop, plus discounted dine-in orders at local Mangia Bene restaurants (Sal & Mookies, Broad Street, and Bravo!) and Iron Horse Grill. “Trustmark values being involved in community initiatives that recognize and reward the commitment of public servants in our marketplace,” Trustmark Director of Marketing and Communications Melanie Morgan stated. “We are delighted to be part of this program that provides these honorable men and women with an opportunity to enjoy spending time with their families in an educational and recreational environment.” Jackson Zoo Development Director Trey Jones spearheads Experience Zoo!, and talked to many people about the need for such a program. Current and former military, first responder, and civil service members (or their spouses) expressed common difficulties in keeping a healthy connection with their children and each other. The Jackson Zoo, one of the oldest and most well-respected family- friendly venues in the state, is well-suited to this kind of engagement. “We see groups experiencing joy, wonder, and laughter together every single day,” said Jones. “Knowing how beneficial this can be for traditional families, imagine the positive results for those who face the challenges of the ongoing or extended stress of community service.” At this time, the 40 annual passes resulting from Trustmark’s generosity have been allotted to employees of the Jackson Police and Jackson Fire Departments. A list of other civic departments, active military, and educators still grows, but the Jackson Zoo’s confidence in the program is high. Director Beth Poff said, “Our community has a need, and Trustmark has once again stepped up to answer the call, encouraging others to do the same.” The community is encouraged to join Trustmark and their recipient families of the Jackson Fire and Police Departments at the Jackson Zoo for a welcoming ceremony at Fire Station 6 located at 101 Livingston Park Drive in Jackson on Tuesday, August 2 at 10 a.m.  City of Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance, City of Jackson Fire Chief RD Simpson, Trustmark’s Director of Marketing Melanie Morgan, Jackson Zoo Director Beth Poff, and Jackson Zoo Development Director Trey Jones will all be available for comment. The Experience Zoo Initiative is open to individual donors in addition to organizations and businesses. For details and donations, please contact Development Director Trey Jones at 601-352-2850 Ext 225 or...

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Jackson Zoo Welcomes MS Credit Unions for 2nd Annual CU At the Zoo

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in General, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Welcomes MS Credit Unions for 2nd Annual CU At the Zoo

APRIL 12, 2016 Jackson MS In keeping with the Jackson Zoo’s educational mission, families from the Jackson Metro are invited to experience the Jackson Zoo while learning about finance on Saturday April 16, from 9 am to 2 pm. The giraffes, zebras, and chimpanzees will be the backdrop to ten Mississippi credit unions as they promote and celebrate April as Youth Savings Month in a fun and interactive event. The inaugural event was April 11, 2015, spearheaded by Sarah Dale Harmon. As Vice President of Member Experience at Statewide Federal Credit Union, the event’s mission is to introduce the idea of financial literacy in a relaxed atmosphere. “CU at the Zoo is a great way to teach Mississippi’s Youth about the importance of saving and money management at an early age, and what better place to teach these fundamental tools than at a place like the zoo,” Harmon said. “Saving is a very important concept for every one of every age,” says Beth Poff, Jackson Zoo Director. “The lessons of financial responsibility can be applied to so many facets of our daily lives, and saving money, like saving animals, can only improve the world we live in.” CU at the Zoo is also about community. The participating credit unions have not only purchased 2,500 daily admissions to the park for first arriving guests (up from 1,500 the previous year), but also gave away a number of 12-month memberships to Metro area families. Those annual passes afford each family 364 days of connection with each other, the community, and the globe. There are ten participating financial institutions: The Jackson Area Federal Credit Union, Statewide Federal Credit Union, Members Exchange Credit Union, Mutual Credit Union, Magnolia Federal Credit Union, MS Postal Employees Federal Credit Union, Mississippi Federal Credit Union, Hope Credit Union, MS Telco Federal Credit Union, and Keesler Federal Credit Union. They will each have tables with financial information for all ages, with special guests Zoey the Zebra, the MS Federal Credit Union Penguin, and Y101.7, Jackson’s #1 Hit Music Station. In addition to the live animal residents and educational activities, families will also be able to enjoy face-painting, inflatables, a basketball toss, and an obstacle course. Families can also purchase treats from the Elephant House Café, The Popcorn Place, Lost Pizza Co., 2 For & Kitchen, and Kona Ice. Rides on the Livingston Train and Endangered Species Carousel are $2 each. After the first 2,500 free daily passes (courtesy of the Credit Unions of MS), normal admission rates will resume: $10.25 for 12 years and up, $7.25 for 12 years and under, under 2 years old are free. Members of the Jackson Zoo receive free admission every day during regular business hours, and there are discounts for seniors and military. For more information about CU at the Zoo, please contact Special Events Manager Toni Francis at 601-352-2580, ext 227, or like “JacksonZoo” on Facebook to keep up with all...

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Jackson Zoo Announces Birth of Endangered Fishing Cats

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Announces Birth of Endangered Fishing Cats

APRIL 7, 2016 Jackson MS Animal staff at the Jackson Zoo were proud to announce the birth of two healthy kittens to their female Fishing Cat on the morning of March 10, 2016. Both have been identified as males. Fishing Cats are listed on the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, due to habitat loss and hunting. They originate in Asia, specifically southwest India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, China, and the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. Unfortunately, local communities have drained many wetland areas to make room for farmland and roads, and pollution from industries has poisoned rivers and streams where fishing cats feed. Aside from their extremely small remaining population, they have a very low rate of reproduction, only two to four kits born annually in the last 10 years. As of 2012, there were less than 100 cats in AZA institutions, and less than half those could be safely bred. Without human intervention, it is projected that the species will become extinct in less than two human generations. The Jackson Zoo is a proud member of the AZA SAFE initiative (Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Save Animals From Extinction), which is a program set up to safely breed species that are dwindling in the wild and captivity. The new kittens are joining a growing list of endangered births here in Jackson, such the Red wolves, Eko the Sumatran tiger (sponsored by JSU), and most recently, the male Bornean Orangutan. This is the first live birth for Iris, who came to join the Jackson Zoo from Columbus, Ohio, as a one year old in April of 2009. The kits have opened their eyes, and are un-named aside from their assigned personal numeric identification within the International Species Database. In the coming months, the kittens will be taken care of behind the scenes by their mother, and animal staff will follow her lead when it comes to introducing them to public view. For more information about the AZA Fishing Cat Animal Program, please visit...

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Jackson Zoo Mourns JoJo the Chimpanzee

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Animal Exhibits, News | Comments Off on Jackson Zoo Mourns JoJo the Chimpanzee

MARCH 21, 2016 Jackson MS Jackson Zoo animal care staff was deeply saddened by the death of JoJo, the chimpanzee patriarch, on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. He was to turn 52 this year. JoJo was born September 20, 1964, at the Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, Australia. After a very natural challenge to his father for dominance of the chimp colony there, caretakers decided he needed his own. He joined the animal family of the Jackson Zoo on October 18, 1986, with his mate, Belle. Over the next 30 years, he was father to four, and grandfather to three. Still residing at the Jackson Zoo are his offspring Maebell and Mojo, and his granddaughter, Binti. Son, Pablo, is on loan to Sacramento. Chimpanzees are a favorite with most people, and he will be missed by staff and guests alike. “It’s hard to imagine him not out there,” says Zoo Director Beth Poff, who views Chimp Island from her office window. “You can watch them for a long time. There is a sense of wonder about their relationships and interactions.” JoJo had a very active and inquisitive demeanor. He will be remembered as being both a definitive leader and yet still a “gentleman.” He was generally cooperative with his caretakers, and also tolerant of his pack’s antics. His youngest, son Mojo, inherited his father’s mischievousness, and tests the troop on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, JoJo’s favorite food was the classic banana. According to one of his keepers, “He LOVED them.” Chimps have a normal lifespan of approximately 45 years, so JoJo’s overall health and activity level beyond 50 was impressive. In the days preceding his death, however, he lacked his usual personality when being cared for by his keepers. One of them said, “Even though it wasn’t really unexpected, it still felt sudden.” A full necropsy has been ordered, and the results will be recorded into the extensive records kept by Jackson Zoo...

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Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in News | Comments Off on JACKSON ZOO RECEIVES QUARTER CENTURY AWARD FROM AZA

Jackson, Miss.— The Jackson Zoo is honored to receive the Quarter Century Award which recognizes 25 years of continuous accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Executive Director Beth Poff received a letter and plaque from the AZA awarding the zoo with the Quarter Century Award. The Jackson Zoo became an AZA member in 1989 and has held accreditation for the past 25 years. AZA accreditation is awarded to members based on high standards of animal care, conservation, education, safety, guest services and more.   “AZA accreditation is a great honor within itself, to be recognized for over 25 years of continued accreditation with the AZA is an outstanding honor that we are very proud to be part of,” said Beth Poff, Director of the Jackson Zoo. The AZA is a non-profit organization, founded in 1924, with a mission to set high standards for institutions and advance conservation, animal care, and public engagement. There are approximately 2,800 institutions licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture with less than 10% that are AZA accredited. In the attached photo, Jackson Zoo proudly displays the Quarter Century Award to share this milestone with members and...

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Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in News | Comments Off on BABY ORANGUTAN IS BORN AT THE JACKSON ZOO

The Jackson Zoo is excited to announce it welcomed a newborn Bornean orangutan on Nov. 22. Jackson Zoo residents Sabah and Pumpkin gave birth to a healthy newborn on Sunday, Nov. 22 in the early morning hours. Animal care staff found the baby when they checked on the pair during their morning routine. According to Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield, the newborn appears to be healthy and doing well. The newborn is confirmed to be a male and a name for him will be chosen during a naming contest. Jackson Zoo staff is excited to welcome a new addition to the animal collection and contribute to the Species Survival Plan of this endangered species. “We are very excited for this birth, as the Bornean orangutan population is dwindling in the wild, we are contributing to the conservation of this incredible species,” Zoo Director Beth Poff said. Sabah came to the Jackson Zoo in April 2013 from the Pittsburgh Zoo. She formed a close relationship with our male orangutan, Pumpkin, during their first face-to-face meeting. Sabah, also nicknamed Kimmie, has shown to be an exceptional mother to the newborn and is very tentative to his needs. Sabah has only made one brief appearance outside since giving birth last week. When you visit the zoo be on the lookout for mom and baby, you may catch her sneaking outside to show a peak of her newborn son. Bornean Orangutans are classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, with less than 55,000 in the wild. Palm oil farming is the biggest threat to this species, where forests are burned down and orangutan lives are sacrificed. The Jackson Zoo supports conservation efforts through multiple avenues in hopes of sustaining the orangutan population. Today the Jackson Zoo is participating in Giving Zoo Day in partnership with Giving Tuesday, which is a nationwide campaign to bring awareness to Zoos’ needs. Bornean orangutans are one of 15 endangered species at the Jackson Zoo that you can support when you donate to the zoo. The Jackson Zoo’s Giving Zoo Day goal is to reach its online giving goal of $5,000 for 2015 and to bring awareness to long-term growth and stability through endowment funds setup with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. For more information visit:

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Posted by on May 22, 2015 in News | Comments Off on NEW DIRECTIONAL SIGNAGE LEAD GUESTS TO THE JACKSON ZOO

The City of Jackson and Zoo Area Progressive Partnership have finally wrapped production on new directional signs for the Jackson Zoo on Wednesday. The need for new directional signs was recognized eight years ago as more people were calling with need of directions, and the older signs had faded and were no longer useful. During conversations with the support group ZAPP (Zoo Area Progressive Partnership) about adding banners along Capitol Street, the need for directional signage again came up as a higher need. Marcia Reed, President of ZAPP and zoo staff contacted the City and began working with staff there on getting a design approved and funding for printing and installation. “The Zoo Area Progressive Partnership (ZAPP) membership is very excited to see the new directional signs for the Jackson Zoo. The purpose of ZAPP is to support the Jackson Zoo through community improvement projects and to promote the revitalization of the Capitol Street corridor and surrounding communities.  The new sign project is something we have been working closely with Beth Poff, Zoo Director and the City of Jackson to finalize. It is wonderful to see this much needed upgrade in our neighborhood.   We greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone involved to bring this project to completion,” Marcia Reed, ZAPP Board President said. The Jackson Zoo went through a rebranding look in 2013 with the help of Mad Genius, and it was agreed that the new brand would work well in the directionals. The City of Jackson funded the project in 2013 and the printing was completed in 2015 with installations beginning May 20. “We appreciate the City of Jackson’s support in installing these new way finding signs. We recognize that the City too understands the importance of tourism and the need for success of local attractions,” Zoo Director Beth Poff said.   The directional signs are located on the four main corridors: Woodrow Wilson, Clinton Boulevard, Capitol Street, and Ellis Avenue. Poff also added, “Not only will these new directionals help visitors find their way to the zoo, it will also serve as a reminder for locals to come visit!” The Jackson Zoo is open daily 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Military members and their families will be given ½ off admission on Memorial Day, May 25. The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and conservation....

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The Jackson Zoo Establishes Endowment Fund with Community Foundation of Greater Jackson

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in News, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Jackson Zoo Establishes Endowment Fund with Community Foundation of Greater Jackson

Jackson, Miss. – The Jackson Zoo has created an endowment fund and operating reserve with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson to help elevate the long-term growth and stability of the Jackson Zoo’s future. The Zoo wanted to establish an endowment fund and operating reserve to allow the opportunity for philanthropists and other Mississippians who care deeply about the Jackson Zoo to invest in the long-term future of the Zoo. With the initial contributions of Crymes Pittman, Dr. William (Bill) Aden, and Ellen and Charles Johnson, the zoo was able to establish a starting point to open these funds and begin the process to allow the public to invest in the zoo, as well. An endowment fund is made up of gifts and bequests that are subject to a requirement that the principal be maintained intact and invested to create a source of income for an organization. An operating reserve is recognized as one of the key ingredients to the financial stability of a non-profit organization and can serve as an internal line of credit when needed to cover the normal fluctuations of day-to-day operations. “We are excited to be starting this partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson.  They exist to be a source of community capital benefiting the residents of Jackson, and we as the Jackson Zoo look to them to assist us in planning a long term future.  We wanted to give our supporters a way to give, that not only supports our education and conservation missions, but to also help us reach a goal of sustainability,” Zoo Director, Beth Poff said. The Jackson Zoo has a long standing relationship with CFGJ through grants and constituents who have supported the zoo’s educational programs, conservation efforts and zoo operations. Director of Major Gifts and Annual Fund, Josh Friedel said, “I’ve known many of the principle members of CFGJ for many years now and they have a true heart for non-profit organizations and ensuring they have the proper institutions in place in order to be wildly successful.” One advantage of having this system in place is that anyone can leave their legacy at the zoo by way of life insurance policies, property, stock options, bequests, estate holdings, and other types of major contributions. Another advantage is that it will aid the zoo in the process of major upgrades such as master planning projects and major long-term upgrades for the Jackson Zoo. The Jackson Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment dedicated to wildlife care and...

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The Jackson Zoo Announces Birth of Red River Hog Piglets

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in News | Comments Off on The Jackson Zoo Announces Birth of Red River Hog Piglets

Jackson, Miss.—The Jackson Zoo welcomed three red river hog piglets born to second time parents, Dill and Potter, on Dec. 29, 2014. The piglets weighed in at 5, 6 and 7 pounds at their one week check-up. They currently sport a striped brown and black coat, which will become a reddish brown color as they grow into adulthood. Their coloration helps them camouflage with the dappled sunlight that would come through the forest canopy. Since the late December birth, the piglets have remained inside with mom, due to severe winter weather conditions. They will soon join their dad and two other siblings, Pickle and Weasley, in the outside exhibit as soon as the weather permits. With the prediction of warmer temperatures entering into the Jackson forecast, we can speculate this date to be as early as this weekend or next week. Of course this timeframe is contingent, and the decision will be made in the best interest for the animals. It is not unusual for the zoo to experience animal births outside of the spring season. Red River Hogs usually breed between September-April, with a gestation period around 120 days. This is the second litter for parents Dill and Potter, and also the second litter born in 2014. Their keeper, Tori Hopkins described Potter as an exceptional mother. “Potter is an amazing and protective mother! She is very vocal with the piglets and they enjoy exploring their indoor exhibit and burrowing in the hay next to mom,” Hopkins said. In the attached picture: Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield and Zoo Keeper, Tori Hopkins, hold the piglets at their one-week checkup. The piglets were named Diddy, Pipsy and Bumper by their keeper, Tori. 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.       ...

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