HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - 2021 is shaping up to be a big year for the Hattiesburg Zoo.
Visitors will see some new and very tall animals in the late spring or early summer when the zoo receives two giraffes for a new exhibit.
“The giraffes we are going to start with will be a female giraffe and her juvenile offspring,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission.
“That sets the stage for our future, which is to bring in a male,” Taylor said. “Our exhibit is designed to be a giraffe breeding facility, so, we will increase that and we have the capacity to go up to possibly six giraffes, that would be our long term goal.”
The zoo has had another long-term goal for about a decade and that’s to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Taylor believes all requirements for accreditation have been met and he’s excited about meeting with the AZA this year.
“We expect this summer to be visited by an accreditation team and then, we hope to sit for accreditation approval in the fall,” Taylor said.
“I feel confident that we have the professional staff, we have the professional operations, we have the components necessary to become accredited by the Association for Zoos and Aquariums.”
Taylor also says two new water-based exhibits are being planned for the south end of the zoo.
One will be for alligators and another will be for the zoo’s Chilean Flamingos.