Published: August 23, 2010
In keeping with its commitment to provide the best care possible to its animal collection, coupled with a struggling financial time, officials at the Jackson Zoo have made a most difficult decision concerning the elephants at the Zoo.
The Jackson Zoo Board of Directors and staff have decided that it is in the best interest of its two African elephants, Juno and Rosie, to be relocated from their existing exhibit to the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee.
The Zoo hopes to house elephants again in the future if funds become available to create an exhibit that can accommodate a herd of at least three elephants, as required by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (“AZA”).
The Jackson Zoo is the only AZA accredited zoo in the State of Mississippi—a fact which the Board and staff take very seriously. “The AZA requires at least three elephants in a single exhibit. In that manner, if one elephant should die, it is not as traumatic for the surviving elephant,“ said Beth Poff, executive director of the Jackson Zoo. “To comply with AZA requirements, it would cost between $8 to 10 million to construct a new exhibit at the Zoo.
Unfortunately, at this time, the Zoo does not have the resources to fund such a project, requiring us to move the elephants to another AZA facility.“ “We have an obligation to the animals, and the Nashville Zoo has agreed to house our two elephants in an enclosure which has plenty of room for them to roam, a large pool, and other herd mates,“ said Poff. “Juno and Rosie should be enjoying their new home in Tennessee by the end of this year,“ said Dave Wetzel, Deputy Director of the Zoo. “We will be working closely with the staff at the Nashville Zoo to ensure that their move is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
We also have an agreement with the Nashville Zoo, so that members of the Jackson Zoo can visit our elephants free of charge.“ According to Davis Frye, President of the Zoo Board of Directors, the Board and Zoo staff members have struggled with the decision to move the elephants for more than a year. “Juno and Rosie have been part of the Jackson Zoo for more than two decades,“ Frye said. “The decision to relocate them has been extremely difficult. Thanks to the hard work and extraordinary dedication of the zoo staff, there are many exciting things happening at the Jackson Zoo.
Unfortunately, due in large part to current state of the economy, it is not feasible at this time to construct a multi-million dollar elephant exhibit at the Zoo.“ “Now more than ever, the Jackson Zoo needs the support of our community,“ said Frye. “I encourage everyone to visit the Zoo to say good-bye to Juno and Rosie and to experience all of the positive qualities that the Zoo has to offer.
It is only through such support that the Jackson Zoo can continue its important mission of educating our children and our community about wildlife and conservation.“
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