Jackson State University and the Jackson Zoo are partnering in the raising of a rare Sumatran Tiger named EKO. The JSU Tigers have officially adopted the 100-pound male cub born in May and, through a special partnership agreement, JSU will sponsor the cub for use in learning exhibits for children, teaching exercises for students, as well as marketing and zoo membership for JSU personnel.
“This partnership between the Jackson Zoo and Jackson State University is an important milestone in the history of both institutions. For Jackson State, this is proof positive of our embracing our community here as well as another investment in future leaders for the rest of the 21st century,” said JSU President Dr. Carolyn Meyers.
“Adopting EKO and his habitat affords cross disciplinary teams of JSU students the opportunity to design and implement learning experiences for the youngest in our community. Our adoption and our enhancement of EKO’s habitat will ignite the flame of learning starting with pre-schoolers as well as position JSU in their young minds as the resource for fun learning experiences,” she said.
The Zoo’s Executive Director, Beth Poff, said she believes this is an exciting opportunity on three levels. “First off, we are neighbors,” Beth Poff said. “Secondly this will benefit the Sumatran tiger breeding program and conservation efforts. And lastly, it will contribute to the well-being of West Jackson.”
Josh Friedel, Jackson Zoo’s Director of Major Gifts & Annual Fund, who facilitated the partnership said, “Jackson State University and The Jackson Zoo are the core foundational institutions in West Jackson and this agreement establishes an extensive relationship in which both parties will work together to achieve mutually desired long term goals.
“I was honored and proud to work with Dr. Meyers and her staff to see this historic agreement come to fruition,” Friedel added.
EKO, which is Indonesian for “first born,” will be the centerpiece of a JSU Tiger exhibit at the zoo. The zoo will host a JSU Tiger Day and will offer special rates for membership to students, alumni, employees and families.
Meyers and Poff signed the official partnership agreement Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Meyers’ office at the H. P. Jacobs Administration Tower. The university will pay $40,000 each year over three years for the sponsorship.
Among the aims of the exhibit are to:
– Provide educational resources, community service and learning opportunities to current, former and future JSU students and children in the community;
– Expand and enhance JSU’s community service activities and historic commitment to the well-being of the community;
– Provide current and future JSU students with cross-disciplinary learning experiences