ZoosFlash! July 7, 2020

Eko the #SumatranTiger allows JZKeeper Jess to take his photo after receiving his 4th of July frozen treats!

Projects Around the Park

The USDA offices are still closed due to Covid-19, so we continue to prepare for inspection. No official zoo-reopen date has been set.

The crew is almost done with the new Sumatran Tiger Pavilion. They will add some shade cloth over the top for the comfort of visitors and work will be complete.

Keepers Note: Their progress has been diligently monitored by both tigers, Eko and mom Sari, throughout the process.

Staff and animals have also been watching Big John’s Tree Service do some work with great interest. They have come to remove a few trees and limbs that have become a cause of concern during inclement weather.

Although zoo people absolutely value the importance of trees in the environment, we must address large trees that impact the safety of our staff, animals, exhibits, and visitors. We don’t like to see them go, but our animals and humans take first priority. Photo: DTodd

Volunteer Opportunities

This Saturday (July 11th) is the Keep Jackson Beautiful‘s Virtual 5K Trash Dash. “Ploggers” can pick up trash and run in whichever neighborhood they call home, whether that’s Jackson or in any of the surrounding cities. There are lots of options, and all details can be found at the sign up page.

It’s a great way to 1) be active AND socially distant at the same time, 2) clean up our neighborhoods, 3) spread awareness of the damage that littering can cause, and 4) raise funds for the volunteers that work throughout the year to Keep Jackson Beautiful!

Frozen Treat Enrichment Fund

Did you catch our kid-friendly take on some animal frozen enrichment? Check out ANIMAL CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES on our main website.

These are super easy, tasty, and fun. Depending on the age of the child, these are some treats that kids can do all by themselves!

Note: We ask you to remind them that these are human treat ideas, not the exact treats given to our animals. So please do not let them feed these to companion animals. Grapes, chocolate, and other edibles are NOT good for cats or dogs!

Cool News!

Despite being closed to the public, our Raptor Rehab conservation program with Vet Tech Donna continues. If you follow the Dollywood Eagle Cam on Instagram, you may have seen them tag the keeper-run Jackson Zoo Instagram recently with their latest addition: American Bald Eagle Amelia!

It’s because of Donna, her network of licensed wildlife rehabbers, and the US Fish & Wildlife Services that this gorgeous eagle was able to recover enough mobility to find a safe forever home at the amazing natural wildlife refuge in Tennessee!

Added Security

Our Human Resources department is still accepting applications for on-site Security Rangers here at the zoo.

The position is currently listed as part-time, although hours may be added as we get closer to a public re-opening. We highly encourage adults with security, military, and/or first responder experience to apply. CLICK HERE for details! Our Human Resources department is still accepting applications for on-site Security Rangers here at the zoo.

(Email all resumes to cherron@jacksonzoo.org with Ranger in the subject line. The Jackson Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer.)

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We need an Educator and a Ranger!

The mission of the Jackson Zoo is to provide visitors with a quality recreational and educational environment, dedicated to wildlife care and conservation.

Current Job Openings

As we continue on the path to re-opening to the public, our staff is need of new team members: an Education Curator and a Security Ranger.

The JZ Education Curator is in charge of all our educational activities, both on zoo grounds and out in the community. He or she will plan and execute our spring, summer, and winter Zoo Camps, manage Zoo Mobiles and other outreach, guide all Meet and Greets and Wild Classrooms, coordinate and execute educational events, and head our volunteer program. This position works closely with all staff, especially the JZ Keepers for programs and the care of the Discovery Ambassador Animals.

We are also looking for an addition to our JZ Security Ranger team. This is currently a part-time position (with possible later expansion) that helps protect our animals, staff, guests, facilities, and park grounds. He or she continuously patrols the entire park, keeps an eye on safety conditions of animals, staff, guests, and facilities, often assists guests during daily operations and special events, and is capable of guiding others through possible emergencies.

Both of these positions are very active, very visible, and very rewarding. Interested applicants can visit our Job Posting website page for all the details, then email their resume and application HERE with their position of interest in the subject line.

The Jackson Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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ZoosFlash June 2020


As businesses and attractions re-open in a limited capacity, many have inquired if the zoo will reopen with them. Since the zoo was already closed to the public before the coronavirus pandemic, the necessary shelter-in-place order unfortunately slowed our progress.

Right now, repairs, improvements, and plans for CDC/Covid compliant practices are ongoing as we wait for the USDA to re-open for inspections. We will continue to announce any major developments affecting our re-opening as soon as we are aware of them.

We want to welcome our community back inside our gates, and are working as quickly as resources, Covid conditions, and the daily weather forecasts allow.

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The Sumatran Tiger Pavilion is being completely replaced and treated (pictured). The structure was originally built in 2010 so that guests could view the tigers’ completely upgraded tiger exhibit under shade.

Crews with City of Jackson have been working to clear and repair the perimeter fencing, as well as address certain trees inside the park that could be affected by strong weather conditions. They’ve also been checking, repairing, or replacing heating and cooling units in the animal “bedrooms,” and resolving issues with the water infrastructure.


Contractors will be repairing and sealing roofs for Meeko the Asiatic Black Bear and Knox the Giraffe, and reconditioning the ground inside the Red River Hog pens.

JZ Keepers have been revamping inside the exhibits, making smaller needed repairs, and creating and placing extra enrichment for the animals daily.

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The latest addition to the ANIMAL CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES is up on the website… have some fun while using common household items that might otherwise get tossed. Be like a JZ Keeper and practice ENRICHMENT to the kids, AND recycle!

(Please feel free to email ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org with finished crafts or ideas for new ones!)

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The mowers are here! Thanks to everyone who made it possible to purchase new mowers, or offered their gently used mowers, to our JZ Animal Care Staff!

Although the city handles the large public grassy areas, we have 12 employees that need to mow over 20 exhibit and off-exhibit areas. Multiple mowers means more efficient daily care schedules, and more time for animal training and enrichment.

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Another YAY going out to our new Adopters and Boosters! This kind of support* helps the JZ Keepers with smaller projects, directly related to animal care and daily enrichment.

Check out the options HERE!

*Although donations to the zoo are not currently tax deductible, they are greatly appreciated by staff.

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Zoo Area Progressive Partnership is doing a second run of their Jackson Zoo YARD SIGNS! Zoo fans in Jackson and the surrounding communities can show support for our animals by popping one of these signs up. All you have to do is message the ZAPP facebook page.

You can also keep up with Keep Jackson Beautiful for other ways to help the zoo and our neighbors. They have scheduled a Virtual 5K Trash Dash on July 11th!

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Top Jackson Zoo Fan Hope Henry was sweet enough to supply a socially-distant lunch recently to the entire JZ Staff. She also continues her sponsorship of Iago the Blue and Green Macaw, and the other residents of the Bird Run and Discovery Zoo.

The love and care by our community members makes it easier to love and care for our animals, so THANK YOU, HOPE!

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Thanks to Mr. Mickey Hansen for some amazing cardboard art now residing in the Gertrude C. Ford Education Center Display Hall! Thousands of hours went into the making of these exotic creatures of cereal boxes, paper towels, and glue, and then he worked some more to adjust them to our ceiling heights!

A giant King Cobra, a Chimp, and a Python will greet visitors when the Display Hall eventually opens back up to the public. They are TRULY stunning, and we look forward to sharing his talent!

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Copyright 2020 The Jackson Zoo

ZoosFlash May 2020


The staff at the Jackson Zoo are making the most of the extended spring season as they work inside and outside exhibits. The animals seem to be enjoying the milder-than-normal temperatures, as well.

There is still much to do before we can invite the USDA for an inspection, but zoo staff and crews with the City of Jackson keep moving forward, especially as all businesses try to work safely around the coronavirus pandemic.


Discovery Keepers have counted at least three new additions to the Prairie Dog Town in the past week. Since the keepers do not interrupt or interfere in the exhibit unless there is an emergency, we often don’t know about pups until they emerge. Young often spend their first four to six weeks exclusively underground.

One of the projects in progress is the cleaning, repainting, and repairing of the Prairie Dog exhibit barrier so that visitors will be able to safely view the animals when we re-open.


Modern zookeepers are very aware of the need for daily exercise of the body and brain, which is why ENRICHMENT is so important in daily animal care schedules. JZ Keepers keep the zoo animals engaged every day – often several times a day – with treats, activities, and scents. Of course, humans are animals, so it works on us, too!

We’ve taken a page from our keepers and come up with some ANIMAL CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES that get everyone engaged both physically and mentally, AND utilize common household items that might otherwise get tossed. You can enrich AND recycle while you’re at home with the family!

(Please feel free to reply to this email with finished crafts or ideas for new ones!)


There are now TWO levels of support for the JZ Staff while the zoo is closed to the public, and both help the keepers and staff with smaller, animal-based projects. All donations go towards additional ENRICHMENT, or towards IMPROVEMENT, which allows us to beautify exhibits and the park in small ways*.

Individuals or groups can join the KEEPER BOOSTER CLUB, at either the Primate Level for $25, or Hoofstock Level for $50, which gets them a digital official certificate, zookeeper and enrichment facts that are easy to print and display.

There is also the Adoption: Keeper level for $75, and Adoption: Guardian level for $100. Each animal sponsorship comes with a certificate, animal facts, conservation notes, keeper facts, enrichment notes, AND either a 6″ zoo plush (Keeper) or a 10″ zoo plush (Guardian).

*Although donations to the zoo are not currently tax deductible, they are much needed and greatly appreciated by staff.

The JZ Keepers thank long-term partners Tyson Foods for their 12-month sponsorship of the American Alligators! They have generously donated the chicken for the weekly feedings for the 2020 season!

Many thanks also to Zoo Area Progressive Partnership for their commitment to us. They are currently giving out these YARD SIGNS to zoo fans in Jackson and the surrounding communities to show support for our animals. If you are interested in getting one, ZAPP is asking $5 per sign to fund the next order. Just reply to this email for details.

We do not currently have a re-open date at this time, but continue to share information as it becomes available to us.

ZoosFlash April 2020

There have been many inquiries to the status of the Jackson Zoo lately, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire staff sympathizes with all our local community partners, as well as our sister zoos and aquariums around the world, that are dealing with the difficult circumstances of sheltering in place.

Special thoughts and prayers to the Bronx Zoo as their animal care staff deals with the illness in both their staff and tigers. That is a constant and deep seated concern for those in animal care, and our hearts go out to them. Wishing a quick recovery for all.

We’ve been closed to the public since September 31st of 2019 for repairs and inspection preparation, so basic operations stay the same. At this time, no keepers or animals have shown any COVID-19 symptoms, but all staff are using all available precautions.

A small staff means that the daily routines have always been pretty solitary, but the coronavirus has forced us to tweak some things. For instance, keepers and staff try to arrange their tasks in a way where they don’t share communal space; most communication between staff is handled via phone or radio; and when interaction cannot be avoided, everyone uses the 6 foot social distancing rule, even if outdoors.

Strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols of both animal and human spaces remain in place, but there is extra focus on human self care, as well. For Keepers, getting sick is scary not only from a personal standpoint, but with such a small staff, it means even more work for coworkers. So everyone is doing their best to stay healthy for the animals and each other.

When it comes to repairs and improvements, the work is still in progress, but it has been slowed. With services and businesses having to close or reduce hours, which is absolutely understandable, the staff does what we can with supplies we already have on hand. We look forward to picking up right where we left off as soon as everyone is back in business.

We still consider ourselves fortunate to be thought of by so many in our community. Several zoo sponsors and patrons have donated to animal enrichment, including Ms. Hope Henry, Zoo Crew member, with some fun enrichment items. Plus US Foods in Flowood, and Salad Days of Flora gave our animals some fresh produce – some of it very different from daily diet requirements – which has been a nice addition for both animal and keeper. (Want to donate to the staff for the animals or repairs? Check out our enrichment page, look into “adopting” an animal, or you can make a monetary donation HERE.)

We want to assure everyone that our plans for completing repairs, undergoing USDA inspection, and reopening to the public have not changed, just the timeline.