The Hattiesburg Zoo will celebrate its 63rd birthday this Saturday, where two new exhibits will be revealed, Zebu and Chilean Flamingo exhibits.
"We'll be opening the Chilean Flamingo exhibit which we're at right now." Rick Taylor, Executive Director of the Hattiesburg Convention Center, was our tour guide for the day. He says the Chilean Flamingo exhibit cost about 50 thousand dollars to install.
"Our collection already is strongly focused on South America, Asia and Africa, so we've made the decision to stick to that focus."
Throughout the zoo you'll see animals from those three continents. Two new members of the zoo are Miranda and Jessie. They're named after country singers Miranda Lambert and Jessie Colter. They're Zebu from Africa. "New exhibits such as this draw people back again and again."
The zoo is working towards accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in hopes to bring more exotic animals to Hattiesburg. The zoo must meet special guidelines in order to keep certain animals. "That combination of a large number of items has to be complete for an accreditation committee to come to Hattiesburg and review us." Taylor says it will take about three more years to reach accreditation.