Less than three months after revealing a new golden eagle exhibit, The Hattiesburg Zoo is now home to a second golden eagle on loan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
According to the press release, the new eagle suffered an injury to his right wing earlier in life and is now unable to fly. He came from the same rehabilitation facility as Nugget.
The difference between this eagle and Nugget is the public is invited to participate in naming the new golden eagle.
Beginning Feb. 1 through Feb. 7, the public may submit names by visiting ZooHattiesburg.com or tweeting their favorite suggestion to @HattiesburgZoo using #NameHattiesBird.
On Feb. 10, a final selection of names will be available on the zoo website for public voting. The new name for the second eagle will be announced Feb. 22 at the USM vs. UTEP basketball game.
Sophomore nursing major Rashae Walley said the naming contest is a great idea.
“It allows the public to have input and makes them feel like they have a say in their own community,” Walley said. “And of course I will be competing in the naming contest. Who wouldn’t want to?”
Walley said she is excited to have two golden eagles in Hattiesburg.
“It shows Southern Miss that the community as a whole is supporting us, in whatever we do, whether it be academics or athletics,” Walley said. “My friends and I have already discussed going and we’re so excited to see both of the eagles.”
Sophomore nursing major Katie Ekes said she thinks the naming contest is excellent.
“It’s a great way for the community to be a part of something so concrete that will be a major addition to the zoo,” Ekes said. “Plus, it’s promoting school spirit for USM, which I feel is important.”
Ekes said she is participating in the naming contest and is glad to have another eagle at the zoo.
“I am excited to have two eagles here, since I feel like seeing animals in person may help support conservation of species and the environment,” Ekes said. “I will definitely participate in the naming contest, since I’d love to have an eagle named Mr. Beaky, and I will absolutely be visiting the exhibit to see our new addition.”
According to the press release, the Southern Miss Alumni Association is excited about this exhibit and the new eagle. The Southern Miss Alumni Association, the USM Foundation and the Student Government Association sponsor the newly constructed exhibit.
“The Southern Miss Alumni Association is proud to be a part of such an impressive and educational exhibit inside the Hattiesburg Zoo,” said Jerry DeFatta, executive director of The Southern Miss Alumni Association.
“We could not be more excited for Nugget to be welcoming a friend to his exhibit, and we strongly encourage the Southern Miss community to contribute to this naming contest,” he said. “It is certainly a golden opportunity for Southern Miss alumni, students and fans to be a part of such an exciting development for the zoo and the entire Hattiesburg area.”
Katie Barry, animal curator at the Hattiesburg Zoo, said having two eagles at the Hattiesburg Zoo is an honor, according to the press release.
“It is quite an honor for the zoo to receive one golden eagle, but to be the home of two golden eagles speaks volumes about the quality of the golden eagle exhibit, the support we receive from the University Community, as well as the confidence that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has in our staff,” Barry said. “We are excited to welcome Nugget’s new friend.”
For more information, visit ZooHattiesburg.com.