Jackson Zoo fires back against Stokes' allegations - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson Zoo fires back against Stokes' allegations

Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT
Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT
Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT
Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT
Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Accused of missing animals and not paying a seven-figure water bill by councilman Kenneth Stokes, the Jackson Zoo addressed his claims Thursday.

On Monday, April 30, Stokes raised concerns that many of the Jackson Zoological Park’s animals were missing, but the zoo’s Executive Director Beth Poff says that's not the case.

READ MORE: City Councilmen argue over Zoo's move and funding

In-fact, Poff says the zoo has close to 200 different species of animals on the property.

"If you count each individual head, there is about 380 animals here.” Poff said.

READ MORE: Jackson Zoo eyes move to LeFleur's Bluff State Park

At times, the Zoo has loaned these animals to other zoos for breeding purposes, but that’s never permanent. In the past, Poff says some animals like lions and elephants were phased out due to a lack of space.

"We did send out orangutans a while back because we wanted them to be at a facility where they had a breeding opportunity and this exhibit didn't have that set up,” Poff said. “So really, the only animals we have moved out have either been for breeding opportunities or the exhibit was just not up to standard."

3 On Your Side Special Report: Moving the Zoo?

Councilman Stokes also claims the Zoo has an outstanding water bill that they refuse to pay. A bill Poff says has been miscalculated.

"We're finally getting close to figuring out, first, how many meters the Zoo really has and where the water has been going,” Poff explained. “In some instances, we were double billed on some meters, some were broken. So we're still in the process of working with Public Works to get that settled."

Related Story: Jackson Zoo eyes move to LeFleur's Bluff State Park

VIDEO: Jackson Zoo patrons react to possible relocation

According to the Zoological Board, the park’s move is a done deal. It's just the timeline that's fuzzy. Regardless, the zoo will remain open in west Jackson over the next few years as the new facility gets built.

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