Celeb Zookeeper Jack Hanna Has Dementia, His Household Says

Celebrity Zookeeper Jack Hanna Has Dementia, His Family Says

2021-04-08 15:35:55

Jack Hanna, the affable zookeeper and tv fixture who has introduced a panoply of unique animals into People’ dwelling rooms, from an Andean condor to a wolverine, has dementia and can retire from public life, his household mentioned.

In a letter shared Wednesday on social media, the household of the 74-year-old Mr. Hanna mentioned that he had developed what’s believed to be Alzheimer’s illness and that his situation had deteriorated quickly previously few months.

“Sadly, Dad is now not capable of take part in public life as he used to, the place folks all around the world watched, discovered and laughed alongside him,” Mr. Hanna’s three daughters mentioned within the letter.

Final yr, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio introduced that Mr. Hanna would retire from his management position there after 42 years as director and director emeritus.

Past the zoo, Jungle Jack Hanna, as he’s identified, has turn out to be a mainstay on tv, from internet hosting his personal Emmy-winning daytime sequence to his common appearances on exhibits just like the “Late Present” with David Letterman and “Good Morning America.”

In his trademark khaki garments and leather-based outback hat, Mr. Hanna was accompanied on the exhibits by a forged of creatures, from the curious to the cuddlesome, to which he gave high billing. Lots of the encounters left the present’s hosts squeamish, notably Mr. Letterman, who The Columbus Dispatch reported had booked Mr. Hanna greater than 100 occasions on his present over 30 years.

The ensemble of animals showing with Mr. Hanna on Mr. Letterman’s present included a camel, penguins, electrical eels, a leopard and a cobra.

“As ordinary, in preparation for his go to tonight, I’m utilizing a tick shampoo,” Mr. Letterman joked whereas introducing Mr. Hanna on his present in September 1998.

Mr. Hanna’s first look on Mr. Letterman’s present was in 1985, in keeping with The Dispatch. They went on to develop a repartee with each other, with Mr. Hanna typically exchanging quips with the late-night tv legend and plopping wild animals down on Mr. Letterman’s desk.

“He has spent his life connecting folks and wildlife as a result of he has at all times believed that having folks see and expertise animals is vital to participating them in additional impactful conservation efforts,” Mr. Hanna’s daughters mentioned. “He’s at all times mentioned, ‘You must contact the guts to show the thoughts.’”

The announcement by Mr. Hanna’s household on Wednesday touched off an outpouring of tributes.

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio mentioned on Twitter that he and his spouse, Fran, had been saddened to be taught of Mr. Hanna’s analysis.

“Over time, Fran and I’ve had the chance to take our children and grandkids to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds,” Mr. DeWine wrote. “Once we had been there with Jack, we had been so lucky to expertise his ardour for animals and the pure world.”

The Alzheimer’s Affiliation counseled Mr. Hanna’s household on Twitter for its disclosure.

“We’re grateful to Jack Hanna and his household for bravely sharing his dementia analysis, letting different households going through Alzheimer’s and different dementia know they aren’t alone,” the affiliation mentioned.

Mr. Hanna’s first job, at age 11, was working for a veterinarian in his native Knoxville, Tenn., which is the place he developed his love and respect for animals, in keeping with a biography on his web site. He opened a pet store in Knoxville together with his spouse, Suzi, and have become a director of a small zoo in Sanford, Fla., in 1973, his biography mentioned.

It was early on that Mr. Hanna additionally discovered of the risks that wild animals can pose to folks.

Within the early Seventies, a 3-year-old boy misplaced an arm when he was mauled by a lion at Mr. Hanna’s property in Tennessee, in keeping with The Dispatch.

“That lives with me each single day,” Mr. Hanna informed the newspaper in a video posted in 2018.

Mr. Hanna turned the director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978 and director emeritus in 1992. He has written 15 books, in keeping with the zoo, which named a an immersive exhibit after Mr. Hanna and a fund after Mr. Hanna and his spouse.

Mr. Hanna’s household mentioned he had engaged with hundreds of thousands of individuals by his tv and media appearances over time.

“This allowed him to convey an unparalleled degree of consciousness to the significance of world conservation given the unrelenting pressures on the pure surroundings,” his household mentioned.

Mr. Hanna’s daughters mentioned that their father had not misplaced his humorousness and that his model hadn’t modified.

“And sure,” they mentioned, “he nonetheless wears his khakis at residence.”


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