Celebrity Zookeeper “Jungle Jack” Hanna is Battling Dementia

By Philkon Phil Konstantin - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9092498

Wildlife advocate Jack Hanna, famous for decades of live animal demonstrations on television shows, has retired from public life at 74 after being diagnosed with dementia.

Hanna’s family announced on Wednesday that the beloved zookeeper is rapidly declining with what doctors believe to be Alzheimer’s disease and retired from his role as spokesperson for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium last year.

“His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated,” daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne, and Julie wrote. “Sadly, Dad is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned, and laughed alongside him.”

Hanna served as the director of the Columbus Zoo from 1978 to 1992, where he “advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals.” He brought national attention to the cause as a wildlife correspondent appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “Good Morning America” throughout the years.

“Dad engaged with millions of households through his media appearances and weekly television programs – including Animal Adventures, Into the Wild and Wild Countdown,” his daughters mentioned. “This allowed him to bring an unparalleled level of awareness to the importance of global conservation given the unrelenting pressures on the natural environment.”

They noted that Suzi, his wife of 53 years, remains steadfastly by his side, and “continues to be his rock,” as Hanna’s health has deteriorated quickly. Yet even in the face of a debilitating disease, his “great sense of humor continues to shine through.”

“We are grateful that the many hearts he’s touched over the years are with him during this journey, which gives us strength,” the letter concluded, cheekily tagging on that though Hanna has retired, he continues to wear his signature khaki uniform at home.

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Janice Ferrier
Janice Ferrier
10 days ago

God bless him…he has done so very much for the animal kingdom over the years..prayers for him and his family

Dolores Linthurst
Dolores Linthurst
10 days ago
Reply to  Janice Ferrier

May God bless him and his family. He is blessed for all he has done! My family and I will keep all of them in our prayers!

Doris Frazier
Doris Frazier
10 days ago

Wishing Jack and his family the best. I know first hand how devastating this disease is and how much caregiving it takes. My prayers are with all of you.

Richard sams
Richard sams
10 days ago

We watches Jack for years prayers for Jack and the family

Labell
Labell
10 days ago

Sad to hear this news. I wish, however, journalists would learn the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disorder. They are completely separate diagnoses.

kathi
kathi
10 days ago

Oh this is so sad. He’s been part of my life for so long sharing the wonders of our animals. Praying for a complete miraculous recovery. Just know we all love you and support you. Thanks for all your care for the animals of the world and speaking out on behalf of them.

Juneausr
Juneausr
10 days ago

Sorry to hear this, met Jack in Alaska many years ago.

Patti Hallmark
Patti Hallmark
10 days ago

So very sorry for Jack and his lovely family. Use to love to watch him on TV with his
animals… He did much for the animal kingdom… God Bless him and his family,,

Elizabeth Estrada aka CHIAKIA

THANKYOU…Mr JACK HANNA. Thankyou for Being YOU. YOU Touc h ALOT of PEOPLE and ANIMAL LIVES. From SamuraiQueen. 😄😄😄OX

Jim
Jim
9 days ago

It’s a very hard road; just remember, though it all, he’s still in there.
Our prayers go out!!
We are with you.