JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The situation at the Jackson Zoo has gone from bad to worse to the point of no return. The small glimmer of hope that the zoo could survive with a possible move to another location in Jackson is no longer an option. The city is now providing $200,000 as a band-aid to cover the costs of caring for the animals, employee salaries and other necessary expenses.
With the recent revelations that zoo leaders had to rob Peter to pay Paul just to keep the operation afloat, it's time for the city to get out of the zoo business. The attendance is in steep decline and the facility is an embarrassment.
With the declining number of visitors, the message is obvious… people are not interested in a zoo… specifically this zoo.
Moving the zoo to save it was the only long-term viable option. Renovating the existing property to make it appealing will take years and years and years. And the amount of money it will take to rehabilitate the existing location, clean up hundreds of blighted properties and rebuild the roads should not be used to save the zoo, but go towards critical city services.
When the streets are repaired, when the schools are top notch A+ caliber, when sewage and water lines aren't constantly breaking, when the city is safe, and murders and violent crime drops significantly, and Jackson is on much stronger financial footing, then possibly revisit the zoo options.
For now, it's time to find other facilities to take care of the animals and mothball the current operation.