It's official: Giraffes to be new premiere exhibit at Hattiesburg Zoo

It's official: Giraffes to be new premiere exhibit at Hattiesburg Zoo
Officials are working on a design to bring giraffes to the Hattiesburg Zoo. Source: WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hardy Street could get a little more exciting in the future with plans underway to bring giraffes to the Hattiesburg Zoo.

"We are actually right now designing the giraffe barn," said Rick Taylor, Executive Director for the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.  "This is going to sit right out, dead center in the front of the zoo visible from Hardy Street and we hope the giraffes will be visible as well."

In September, city council approved the convention commission's budget for fiscal year 2018, which included $800,000 to develop a "premier animal exhibit."  At the time, the animal type had not been determined, but Taylor mentioned giraffes fitting into the Africa and Asia exhibits.

"I had mentioned that one of the options was giraffes, apparently the public only heard the word 'giraffes'," said Taylor.  "So, by popular demand, giraffes it's going to be."

Taylor said the convention commission is just starting the design and currently working with an architect to design the barn.

"We've got a broad sketch of the exhibit, we are going to tie them together with the African Veldt so the animals will be able to move through different outdoor exhibit locations," Taylor said.  "It's just a matter now of drawing the plans, once that's complete we will go to bid and we're going to get started."

Unfortunately, the giraffes will not be at the zoo any time soon.  Taylor said it will be a full year "before we will even be close" with finishing the plans.