Jackson Zoo Facing Accreditation Problems

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Jackson, Miss. The national Association of Zoos & Aquariums has pulled its accreditation from the only Mississippi zoo which held it, because of financial instability.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that the zoo keeps provisional accreditation during appeals ending in March.

The problem is that fewer people are coming to see the zoo's 773 animals. Attendance has dropped from a peak of 192,000 to 117,000 last year.

National zoo consultant Rick Biddle of Philadelphia says the zoo itself is well run. Zoo director Beth Poff says the surrounding West Jackson neighborhood scares many people.

Zoo officials face hard choices: Closing the park, cutting its collection, renovating and adding new exhibits in hopes of drawing bigger crowds, or relocating.

City leaders don't want to move the zoo.