What’s new at the Hattiesburg Zoo?

-(WDAM Staff)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 2:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 2:07 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - There is always something new going on at the Hattiesburg Zoo.

“We strive to offer a new experience for our guests each time they visit our Zoo,” said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, which operates and manages the Hattiesburg Zoo. “The addition of new animals, species and programs to the Zoo is exciting and in keeping with our mission to further our guests’ appreciation, respect and knowledge of nature.”

A new monkey named Motley has recently been welcomed into the zoo’s numbers.

Motley, a seven-year-old cotton-top tamarin, has come to the Hattiesburg Zoo from the Electric City Aquarium in Scranton, Pa. He will be joining Gidget, a 13-year-old cotton-top tamarin.

“We recently lost our male cotton-top tamarin from old age, and Gidget is in need of a new friend,” said Kristen Moore, Hattiesburg Zoo curator.

According to the zoo, cotton-top tamarins are one of the rarest species of living primates in the world. They are only found in northwestern Colombia, and it’s estimated that there are less than 6,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

Electric City Aquarium contacted the Hattiesburg Zoo’s animal care team to see if they would be interested in acquiring Motley, as he had recently lost his mate.

Motley is currently quarantined in the habitat next to Gidget so the two can see and communicate with one another. After his quarantine is completed, Motley will be introduced directly to Gidget.

Both Gidget and Motley can be seen by guests on the “Boardwalk in Asia.”

“It is easy to tell them apart as Gidget has a full mane of glorious hair and Motley has a slicked back hairdo,” said Moore.

Photo, L to R: Gidget and Motley.
Photo, L to R: Gidget and Motley.(Hattiesburg Convention Commission)

As one animal joins the zoo, another is sadly leaving.

Hattiesburg Zoo’s female Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth, Maple, is moving to the Montgomery Zoo.

Maple was born June 28, 2018, at the Hattiesburg Zoo to parents Chewy and Mo.

“Sloths naturally leave their mothers and search out new territory, and it is now time for the next step in Maple’s adventure,” said Moore.

Maple will enjoy a new habitat, which has outside play space and will be joining her new friend, Odysseus.

“Maple is a wonderful sloth with a ton of personality and she loves an outdoor environment so this is the perfect move for her,” said Moore.

Something else is also new at the zoo, eggs!

This past spring, the Hattiesburg Zoo introduced 16 unique chicken breeds to guests. Those chickens are now laying eggs, which are being used in the diets of several animals within the Zoo.

Chickens, on average, start laying eggs between 5 and 6 months, and the animal care staff is currently collecting 5-6 eggs a day.

“We boil the eggs and give them to our primates, and our Possum and Agouti get them almost every day,” said Moore. “We also use them in enrichment exercises for some of our other animals.”

Part of the desire to exhibit chickens was not only to showcase the different breeds but also to become a little more self-sustainable.

“By using the eggs that our chickens are laying we can reduce package waste and cost,” said Moore. “It is really exciting to see that vision come to life.”

“In the near future we plan to add a garden to help offset some of our animal food costs,” added Moore.

-(Hattiesburg Convention Commission)

To find out more about the zoo, click HERE.

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