"With Jackson Budget OK, Zoo Hopes to Reverse Accreditation Denial" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS


With Jackson Budget OK, Zoo Hopes to Reverse Accreditation Denial

With this morning's approval of a city budget, Jackson Zoo officials are hoping to reverse the recent decision to deny the park accreditation.

On Sept. 8, an Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) committee denied renewal of the Jackson Zoo's accreditation citing "concerns of the zoo's financial stability at the time of the accreditation review and hearing," a zoo press release states.

The zoo, which asked the Jackson City Council for $1.4 million to cover its approximately $675,000 budget deficit, blames the denial on the timing of the city budgeting process -- the accrediting hearing took place four days before the council voted on the city's budget.

"Although the mayor (Chokwe Lumumba) provided a firm promise to support the Zoo's request for $1.4 (million) prior to city council's approval of the full budget, the guidelines of the AZA Accreditation Commission clearly state that approved funding must be secured and that conditional or promised funds are not considered sustainable operating funds," the zoo release said.

The zoo also recently received $10,000 from Hinds County and was the subject of a letter-writing campaign ahead of the accreditation hearing, which took place in Kansas City.

Now that the city council has approved its budget, the zoo plans to appeal the accreditation. During the appeals process, the zoo will retain its accreditation with the AZA.


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