Meridian Star

February 3, 2014

Zoo gets 2nd golden eagle; seeks name

The Associated Press
Associated Press

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Hattiesburg Zoo officials are looking for a name for the zoo's newest resident — its second golden eagle.

The male eagle joins "Nugget," a male exhibited since late 2013, WDAM-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1iYQKaN).

Both birds were injured in their native California, and were in the same rehabilitation facility before coming Hattiesburg. They can be kept at the zoo because they would not survive in the wild.

Zoo officials are taking name suggestions online at www.hattiesburgzoo.com or through Twitter using #NameHattiesBird.

Online voting is scheduled Feb. 10 at www.hattiesburgzoo.com .

The golden eagle is the mascot of the University of Southern Mississippi's sports teams.

Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention/Tourism Commissions, says the name will be announced Feb. 22 at USM's home basketball game against Texas-El Paso.

Both eagles are on permanent loan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association, USM Foundation and Student Government Association raised $70,000 for the eagles' habitat. Zookeepers needed 300 hours of training before the zoo could get a license to keep and care for the birds.