Jack Hanna is a legendary zookeeper who served as the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from 1978 to 1992. To some animal lovers, zoos are controversial, because they believe that the animals should be free in the wild. However, as Jack Hanna has proved, zoos are a lot more than just entertainment to people.
While it’s true that some zoos don’t provide adequate space and enrichment for some of their animals, most zoos strive to create a stimulating environment for each and every animal they house. Furthermore, zoos aren’t just there for people to look at animals. They are important for scientists to study animal behavior, so they can use their knowledge to help species in the wild. Zoos are also essential for conservation efforts. Many critically endangered animals are housed at zoos, where they are bred with other members of the same species in an effort to prevent extinction. Finally, zoos serve as an essential way for people to learn about other animals. They provide lots of education to children and adults alike, inspiring many young people to work with wildlife in the future.
Jack Hanna has truly embodied the spirit of what zoos all over the world are trying to accomplish, and he’s made great strides in making animals happier and healthier while kept in zoos. He’s also made many television appearances where he used platforms with Johnny Carson, Good Morning America, and David Letterman, among many others, to educate and inspire others about the important work that happens in zoos.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium opened in 1927, but in the beginning, it was far less magnificent than it is today. It is because of Jack Hanna’s influence that the Columbus Zoo has been transformed into a safe haven for animals all across the world! The huge non-profit zoo houses many endangered animals, and even supports other conservation efforts throughout the world.
Sadly, however, Jack Hanna’s brilliant work has come to a close, and he’s had to pass on the torch to the people he’s inspired over the years. Just recently, it was announced that Jack Hanna had received a devastating diagnosis. In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at Jack Hanna’s work and legacy, as well as the sad reason why he’s retired. Make sure you stick around, because we’re going to reveal why Jack Hanna will no longer be making any public appearances.
The Beginning of His Amazing Career
Jack Hanna has been fascinated with animals his entire life. In college, he began studying business and political science, but his passion for animals was a major point of his college years. In fact, he even got in major trouble because he kept several ducks in his dorm room, and even a donkey behind his fraternity house!
After graduating, he decided to open up a petting zoo with his wife, Suzi. The petting zoo housed several dangerous animals, including a lion. Tragically, however, a three year old boy snuck past one of the barriers and was mauled by the lion, and lost his arm as a result. Jack Hanna had to shut down the petting zoo, and he moved out of state with his family.
Thankfully, things began to turn around for Hanna in 1973, when he was chosen as the director of Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Not long after, he was offered the coveted position of the director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Believe it or not, though, the real reason he accepted the job was because it was near Columbus Children’s Hospital. The hospital was renowned for its state of the art technology, and he wanted his beloved young daughter to go there. She was suffering from Leukemia at the time, and he wanted the best care for her. Thankfully, she made a full recovery, and Hanna had a wonderful new career to boot.
His Sad Diagnosis
Jack Hanna had a long and prolific career, but he retired from his position as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 2020. He’s largely kept out of the public eye since then, but more recently, his family announced devastating news. Jack Hanna has been suffering from dementia, and over the last few months, his health has declined rapidly. More recently, doctors have expressed that they are fairly certain he has Alzheimer’s. While Jack Hanna was previously able to charm and educate viewers of any age with his vast wealth of knowledge regarding animals, he simply isn’t able to do what he used to these days.
His family assured longtime fans that his humor is still shining through, but they ask for privacy in these difficult times. Zoos and fans all over the world are sending their love and support, while still respecting the family’s privacy regarding Jack Hanna’s tragic situation. Sadly, we’ll never again get to see Jack Hanna in his classic khaki pants holding some exotic animal with that special spark of passion in his eyes. He was a great influence to animal lovers all over the world, and he will continue to be through his legacy.
How Much Is He Worth?
It’s no secret that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the most successful zoos in the world. It has a vast menagerie of animals as well as many other attractions that make it a popular destination for people across the globe. Jack Hanna held that coveted position of zoo director for decades, and since then was director emeritus until his retirement in 2020. So how much is the legendary “Jungle Jack” worth today?
Jack Hanna’s amazing net worth is estimated at $5 million! This means that he and his family can live quite comfortably. Not only does he own a cozy cabin right next to Glacier National Park, located in Montana, but he also has a second home in Rwanda, where he and his wife would visit at least once a year. Even though Jack Hanna’s condition is rapidly progressing, he’ll at least be able to live in comfort.
Jack Hanna may be nearing the end of his life, but he’s left such an amazing impact on the world. Furthermore, he has an amazing life story that goes beyond his work at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re going to reveal the heartwarming story behind his marriage to his wife, Suzi. And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!
How Jack Hanna Changed the Columbus Zoo Forever
When Jack Hanna was first chosen to lead the Columbus Zoo, it wasn’t exactly impressive. In fact, the housing for the animals was hardly more than a few cages and pens. Under Jack Hanna’s direction, however, the zoo has been transformed into so much more. Now, the wildlife held there has sprawling enclosures filled with plenty of enrichment to keep the animals stimulated and healthy. The scenery of the Columbus Zoo is absolutely gorgeous, and today, it spans an amazing 580 acres of land, housing over 7,000 individual animals from about 580 different species! Any visitor at the Columbus Zoo is immediately taken to another world, where they can watch animals engaging with their habitats just as if they were in the wild!
His Expertise Proved Handy When Several Wild Animals Escaped
In 2011, authorities called on none other than Jack Hanna himself when the small town of Zanesville, Ohio, was in crisis. A small county zoo, which had already been in trouble for inadequate animal housing, experienced a horrible tragedy. The owner of the zoo set free 50 animals before taking his own life. A total of eighteen tigers, as well as several lions, bears, leopards, and wolves, had all escaped and were at large, where they could potentially maul and even kill innocent civilians!
Jack Hanna was called on for his amazing animal expertise, and he was indispensable as he helped authorities track down the missing animals. Sadly, the authorities did not have proper equipment to safely trap and return the animals, and had to resort to killing many of them. While Jack Hanna was devastated, he admitted that it was the only way. Thankfully, a few animals managed to survive, and all were able to be housed safely at his very own Columbus Zoo.
The Truth Behind His Marriage
While attending University, Jack Hanna met Suzi Egli. Before long, the two had fallen in love, and they got married in 1968. They have remained together ever since. Together, the couple opened their very own petting zoo before it sadly had to be shut down. Since then, Suzi has remained by Hanna’s side while he worked as the director of the Columbus Zoo, and also frequently appeared alongside him in many television appearances. She shares his deep love for animals, and is incredibly knowledgeable about them, as well. It’s certain that, even though Jack Hanna is unable to make public appearances from now on, Suzi will continue to contribute to the world of animal lovers for many years!
Jack Hanna may no longer be able to make public appearances, but he’s left a lasting impression on the whole world with his amazing knowledge of animals. Were you more impressed to learn about all the changes he made to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, or about the heartwarming love story surrounding he and his wife’s marriage? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!