Jungle Jack Hanna: The Celebrity Zookeeper

How could you forget Jack Hanna? This is the kind of face you remember, if not for his many hilarious appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, then for the simple fact that his droll expression is usually partly covered by a kuskus–or something other bizarre animal crawling all over his head and shoulders. He is also easily identified by his outfit: a khaki safari outfit, a dark tan and a crazy Southern accent.

Yes, Jack Hanna has the earned the distinction of “Jungle Jack“, and not only because of his fame. In fact, Hanna started as an American zookeeper and is almost single-handedly responsible for elevating the quality and reputation of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio to worldwide renown. One of the ways he improved the zoo was by transitioning animals from cages to habitat environments.

He got his start on a Tennessee farm owned by his father, and started working with animals at the impressionable age of 11, landing an assistant position to a veterinarian. He studied business and political science in Ohio before getting in trouble for keeping ducks in his dorm room and a donkey in a shed. He later opened a pet shop and petting zoo.

Hanna, now age 65, has kept busy publishing books (Monkeys on the Interstate) and has also hosted the TV show Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. He also pops up on daytime TV, and oddly enough, in music videos; in 2005, he appeared in Neal McCoy’s “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On” along with a trio of wild animals. He has been talking retirement as of late, but as recently as October 19, 2011, he was still on active duty. He helped Ohio police officials track down many exotic animals near Zanesville, Ohio who were mysteriously released before a private owner’s suicide.

You can still catch Jack on TV…but why not make plans to see him and his wild animal friends live and in person? These shows are popular for children and adults, because you never know what Jack is going to bring out. These shows are educational, thrilling and often times funny, because animals are usually such bad actors!

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