The Hattiesburg Zoo, currently 2008.
|Location||Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States|
|Land area||12 acres (4.9 ha)|
|No. of species||55+|
|Annual visitors||125,792 (2014)|
The Hattiesburg Zoo (sometimes also called the Kamper Park Zoo) is a small 12-acre (4.9 ha) zoo located within Kamper Park in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States. The zoo is operated by the Hattiesburg Convention Commission. As of December 2013, the Commission's executive director is Rick Taylor.
The 40 acres (16 ha) for Kamper Park was donated to the Daughters of the Confederacy by John Kamper in 1902, and was given in turn to Hattiesburg in 1908 for a public park. The zoo was opened on about 12 acres (4.9 ha) of the 40-acre (16 ha) park in 1950.
The zoo is located within Kamper Park among a grove of oak and pine trees. Upon entering the Zoo, visitors pass through a promenade that contains prairie dogs and leads to the Africa section. The African veldt contains antelope, monkeys, ostrichs, servals and zebras. In the South American exhibit area are capybaras, iguanas, jaguars, macaws, howler monkeys, llamas, tapirs, and tigers. The tiger boardwalk gives a close view of American alligators.
Kamper Park has landscaped walking trails, tennis courts, grassy picnic areas, and playgrounds.
On January 5th, 2018, Rick Taylor, the executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, asked the Hattiesburg City Council for $800,000 for a new exhibit at the zoo. He indirectly shared his thoughts to the public by stating that he was thinking about bringing new animals like red pandas, penguins, and giraffes to the zoo. When the Hattiesburg Zoo's social media account heard about this, they repeatedly agreed with his statement, and took a liking to the giraffe choice. Not being fond of the choice cause of ideas of housing the animals and experience with other zoos, he initially felt like declining the requests. But then, he decided that they will get the giraffes. They plan on building an enclosure, with a barn large enough to hold 4 giraffes, next to the former zoo sign. It is stated that the giraffes will also have access to the neighboring zebra and ostrich exhibit for a new environment. The giraffes will be seen from Hardy Street. One of the senior zookeepers stated that the new addition would be a 'wow' factor. The construction time for this exhibit is estimated to be 2 years.