©2003 The Gnat

All-New Possum Display Planned For Jackson Zoo

By Nikki Divine, Gnat Staff Writer

The Jackson Zoo, in cooperation with the Opossum Society of The United States, is unveiling an all-new possum program, entitled "The Progressive Possum." Zoo marsupial projects coordinator Mara Sue Peals, says that the project is "an intense effort to update the surroundings of the Jackson Zoo's possum habitat so that zoo-goers can view the sole marsupial native to the US in its most natural surroundings."

Additions to the renovated possum habitat include several burned-out 50 gallon metal drums with rusted-out bottoms. Various and sundry trash strewn about the dirt floor of the habitat for decoration doubles as possum play-pretties for intellectual stimulation. The new exhibit has also relocated to an enclosed area with a plate glass front. This new enclosure blocks natural light in order to utilize special lighting effects that make for a continuous "street light" ambience. The back wall of the exhibit resembles the side of a rural residential home with a slate siding exterior wall above a convential brick foundation punctuated with an "under the house" habitat. A country roadside is painted on the East wall of the exhibit.

Efforts to raise money to offset the expenses for the project include raffle tickets for an actual stuffed possum to be given to the lucky winner, provided courtesy of Big Dave's Stuffed Stuff Taxidermy. Persons interested in purchasing raffle tickets can get them at the gate of the Jackson Zoo or drop by Big Dave's, located on the Lynch Street Extension next to Anna Mae's Do You A Perm Salon.

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