By Associated Press - Monday, October 13, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Jackson Zoo and Mississippi State University are extending a program that allows College of Veterinary Medicine students to get some hands-on training at the facility.

The students work with the zoo’s consulting veterinarian Dr. Michael Holifield. The program has been in place for several years but a formal agreement was signed recently.

Zoo director Beth Poff told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/1yWpKBe ) the formal agreement is the next step in making the zoo part of the students’ rotation. It welcomes students into the program next spring.

“Further down the road, we really wanted to make it a more of a concrete thing here at the zoo,” Poff said, with an expanded veterinarian hospital, and classroom and dormitory space.

The program matches mutual goals of improving animal care and health, education and research, with students given the chance to earn credit hours through the zoo.



Poff said the zoo has 24 endangered or threatened species and the need to participate in species survival research but without the staff time to manage it.

“This will give us the opportunity, with the assistance of these volunteer vet students, to be part of these studies,” she said.

Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the veterinary school, said the students will be involved in research in zoological epidemiology and learn more about infectious diseases in captive and free-ranging wildlife.

Poff hopes eventually the zoo and MSU can hire a veterinary research doctor who can split time between the university and zoo, so students can do the research.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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