JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Two African elephants, Juno and Rosie, are moving out of the Jackson Zoo. Rosie has been living there since 1977 and Juno came in 1982.
For 87 years elephants have been a staple at the Jackson Zoo. The gentle giants are a favorite stop for families at the park. Their images are plastered everywhere, but soon that all will change.
"How can you have a zoo and not have elephants?" asked Jackson resident Bob Crosby.
"That's why you go to see the zoo. You go to see the elephants and tigers," said Jackson resident Beverly Brooks.
"It's sad, you know, The Jackson Zoo is a really great place," said Jackson resident Debbie Allen.
"Sometimes we're forced to make the choices that are really the best thing for the animals and maybe not the happiest for us," said Jackson Zoological Park spokesperson Rosemary Jalink.
Zoo officials blamed struggling financial times for having to move 31-year-old Juno and 39-year-old Rosie to an elephant habitat at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. However the major factor for their move is because of new regulations put into place by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The AZA now requires exhibits to feature at least three elephants.
"They are very in tune with their herd. They are herd animals. We would hate for something to happen to them and the other one be left alone," said Jalink.
The Jackson Zoo would have to acquire another African elephant, which costs at least $45,000 a year to feed. It would then need to build a new $8 million to $10 million enclosure for the small herd.
"We certainly have the acreage. We just need the support and funding," said Jalink.
Jackson Zoo visitors will have just a few more months to see Juno and Rosie. The two will be leaving for their new home by the end of the year.
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