Jackson Zoo Keepers and staff are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Nicolai, our Amur leopard. The handsome big cat had just turned 19 on June 30th, which is quite elderly for a species with a normal life span of 15 years. He started to go into noticeable decline, and zoo management made the heartbreaking decision to humanely euthanize him when his behavior indicated he was at his end.

Nic joined the Jackson Zoo as part of the Amur leopard SSP (Species Survival Program) in 2004. Amur leopards are critically endangered in the wild, with only 90 individuals confirmed to exist in small sections along the Russia/China border. Although conservationists are working tirelessly against the illegal wildlife trade, climate change, habitat loss, and deforestation in order to increase the number of these animals, Amurs are still considered one of the world’s rarest big cats. Nicolai sired 2 offspring during his life, one of which still lives today.

Not only was he an exceptionally beautiful cat, he was relatively laid back and easy going in temperament (for a cat, of course!). Every keeper that worked with him loved him, and we feel his loss personally as well as with regard to his species.

Because animals in zoos usually live longer than in the wild (consistent feeding and vet care adds years to a life span), emotional attachment is unavoidable. Although it is hard to say good bye to these amazing creatures at the end of their lives, we are so proud that we were a part of their story.

We are proud to help our community be a part their story, too.

Each time you visit the zoo, you not only support the 200 animals and staff that live here in Metro Jackson, but you also help in the mission to help save endangered species around the world.

Just a few of the other endangered species that we care for are the Sumatran tigers, the Reticulated giraffe, the White-handed gibbons, the Pygmy hippos, the Fishing cats, the Cotton-top tamarins (left), the Red-ruffed lemurs, and the largest animal in the state of Mississippi, the Southern White rhino. We also have the Red wolves and Nene geese, which are actually in the world today due to the partnership between zoos and conservationists.

Purchase or reserve your tickets for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
13 and up are $8

2-12 years old are $5
under 2 years old are free
last ticket sold every day at 2:45 pm

PURCHASE ONLINE via credit or debit OR you can RESERVE ONLINE and pay CASH ONLY when you arrive. (Currently our Admissions and Gift Shop are credit online only or cash in hand.)
Hot Diggity Dog, Dippin’ Dots, and Brick Street Pops are available (weather permitting), as well as Pepsi. The Splash Pad is included with admission, and rides on the Endangered Species Carousel are only $2 per seat. Also, Scooterbug strollers are also now available for rent ($5 for singles, $8 for doubles, $9 for a manual wheelchair).
Come visit all of our amazing animals every Thursday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm!

Marrion, Lead Discovery Keeper, with one of our endangered Red-ruffed lemurs when they were still small.


Our small but dedicated staff of keepers work very hard to not only provide the level of care required daily, but make the extra time and effort to provide additional enrichment to the zoo animals. (Read more about ENRICHMENT.)

Oftentimes, their research leads them to ideas and activities that are not in the budget, so they use their own money and resources.

To relieve some of that cost, we put up the JZKeeper Support page. This talks about how to purchase and donate directly from the JZ Keeper Amazon Wish List, or send egift cards that donate towards the cost of certain specific items for the animals or keeper care needs. (Any questions can be directed to EJ Rivers, Media/Events/Development by email, or calling her at 769-246-7747) You can also leave messages of support on our social media pages!

Copyright 2021 City of Jackson, The Jackson Zoo / 2918 West Capitol Street Jackson MS 39209

Categories: News