Press Room



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.

“Our zoo is a wonderful teaching tool and the MSU-CVM students and faculty have the brain power and enthusiasm to help us advance our research on endangered species,” said Beth Poff, director of the Jackson Zoo. “We want students here to publish research and help us expand our species survival plan. This type of work doesn’t just benefit the zoo, it is important for understanding and preserving endangered species around the world.”

Mayor of Jackson, Tony T. Yarber, is also excited to formalize this partnership, as he sees it to be beneficial for the city’s substantial growth and developmental plans.

“This partnership fits within our city and state-wide mission,” Mayor Yaber said. “We see the zoo as the epicenter of West Jackson. Building a stronger program there is the first step in developing the area and making changes that will impact the city and state. This partnership makes an enormous impact.”

The Zoo’s veterinarian, Dr. Michael Holifield, and also a MSU-CVM alum, teaches students daily management and veterinary care for exotic animals. The expansion of this partnership will allow students and faculty further opportunities to publish research, learn about biosecurity, animal husbandry, and increase hands-on experience with exotic animal care.

“We have enjoyed a long and very good relationship with the Zoo. Our students have learned a lot from Dr. Holifield, and growing this program means even more opportunities,” said Dr. Kent Hoblet, MSU-CVM Dean. “Now, our students won’t have to go far at all to get involved in research of zoological epidemiology, and understand infectious diseases in captive and free-ranging wildlife. This will certainly serve them well as they step out into their careers.”

The Memorandum of Understanding was entered into agreement on Oct. 8, 2014 and was signed by Zoo Director, Beth Poff, Jackson Mayor, Tony T. Yarber, and MSU-CVM Provost and Executive Vice President, Jerry Gilbert. The zoo will welcome students into the formalized program this spring.


Sumatran Tiger Birth at the Jackson Zoo

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in News | Comments Off

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...

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Red River Hog gives birth at the Jackson Zoo

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in News | Comments Off

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Sad Loss for Jackson Zoo

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in News | Comments Off

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Red Wolf Pups Get Their Names

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in News | Comments Off

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’...

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Exciting Orangutan Birth a First for Jackson Zoo

Posted by on Apr 24, 2014 in News | Comments Off

It was an exciting morning of April 24 for keepers at the Jackson Zoo when Bornean orangutan Sabah gave birth in her off exhibit bedroom. The 35 year old orangutan gave birth to her fourth infant, though her first with mate Pumpkin, 28 years old. Deputy Director Dave Wetzel reminds us that “the first few days of the orangutan’s life are very fragile. Sabah is proving to be an excellent mother, so for now the best plan of action is to allow her to care for and bond with her new infant.” Sabah and baby are currently in their off exhibit area....

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Endangered Red Wolf Birth at the Jackson Zoo

Posted by on Mar 30, 2014 in News | Comments Off

 On March 30, 2014, the Jackson Zoo welcomed the birth of 8 red wolf pups. This is the second litter for red wolf parents, mother Taladu and father Kanati. Currently, the 3 males and 5 females are under the constant watchful eye of mom in the den. “We’ve checked and weighed all of the pups. They are all doing well and come in around 600 grams or about 1.3 pounds,” said Deputy Director Dave Wetzel. “It will be several weeks before mom lets them venture from the den, so it will be some time before the public will be able to see them.” Last...

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Carolyn Danks Awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2012

Posted by on Aug 31, 2013 in News | Comments Off

Carolyn Danks Awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2012

Zoo Director Beth Poff and Education Specialist Becky Olthof give Carolyn Danks a big thumbs up for being voted Volunteer of the Year by Zoo staff. She was recognized for not only for her years of service, but for her ongoing help as a guide and assistance with flower and plant care around the Discover Zoo.

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