The Hattiesburg city council recently approved the zoo’s budget where they approved $800,000 to be allotted to develop a “Premier animal exhibit.”
The zoo is not only looking to add animals to their Africa and Asia exhibits, but they are looking to change the way that visitors experience the zoo as well.
“We are doing all we can to remove the barriers between the visitors and the public and the animal,” said Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Zoo. “People learn better when they are up close and they can see and touch and understand.”
Taylor said the Hattiesburg zoo made a profit in the last year, something that does not happen often.
In fact, Taylor said the Zoo is among only 11% of zoos worldwide that have achieved making a profit.
“Once we crossed the threshold of actually making a profit we had to look up how rare we were we found out that we are among the 11% of all zoos that actually make a profit,” said Taylor.
Taylor added that the zoo may be adding Giraffe’s to the zoo in the next few years, however it may not happen on their original time table.
“I mentioned that at City Council that Giraffe’s were something that we were looking for and looking at in the long range view and apparently no one heard anything else except the word giraffe,” said Taylor. “My staff and my wife has told me you need to read the comments on Facebook, because all people are saying is ‘OMG, we’re getting giraffe’s, we’re getting giraffe’s!’ So, it may be by the force of public will and public interest that we may have to turn our attention to getting giraffes sooner than later.”