Animal expert “Jungle Jack” Hanna is one of the most visible and respected ambassadors between the human and animal worlds. His hands-on approach and insights into the public’s appreciation of wildlife have won him widespread popular acclaim as Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, conservationist, author, television personality and lifelong adventurer.
Jack’s passion for wildlife stems from his early childhood. Having cultivated a love for animals on the family farm, Jack spent his teenage summers helping the local veterinarian by cleaning animal cages. After graduating from Muskingum College, Jack and his wife, college sweetheart Suzi, opened Pet Kingdom, a successful pet store and petting zoo. From there it was only a few years until Jack became director of the Central Florida Zoo.
Jack took flight in 1978 when he received the opportunity of a lifetime: directorship of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. The zoo was struggling and in sore need of rejuvenation when Jack arrived on the scene and transformed the floundering establishment into the state-of-the-art zoo it is today. His keen understanding of public relations sparked this remarkable turnabout.
Further capitalizing on his media savvy, Jack has taken his ineffable passion to the airwaves through his own very successful television program, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. Airing since 1993, the show now reaches 96% of U.S. television households every weekend. Recognized around the country as America’s favorite zookeeper, Jack has made countless appearances on television shows, revealing his irrepressible verve and enthusiasm with his wild companions on Good Morning America, Larry King Live, and The Late Show with David Letterman.
A dynamic orator, Jack now enjoys speaking tours across the country, sharing his globetrotting experiences and enlightening thousands of people through his special window into the animal world. Author of seven books — and counting — his timeless tales continue to captivate audiences from every generation.
In addition to serving on the boards of several educational institutions, he is also an active supporter of the Leukemia Society, Partners in Conservation, The Mountain Gorilla Project, and the Busch Conservation Fund. He is also a Professional Fellow of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association. Whatever Jack’s role, he will always remain an adventurer at heart, never hesitating to jump at the chance to travel, explore, and support the animal world.