• Director of the Columbus Zoo
Jack was born on January 2, 1947 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The route to becoming a celebrity began in his family's bathtub, where he raised bluegills and then created a backyard menagerie. He loved animals and always wanted to work with them. As a boy he befriended and hung out with a veterinarian who worked at the zoo in Knoxville. He followed the vet as he made his rounds caring for ailing animals. At college he reportedly kept ducks in his room and a miniature donkey in a shed behind his fraternity house. The college disapproved and put a stop to these activities, but Muskingum retained the donkey as a mascot. Jack got to parade the animal during football games and impress Suzi Egli, one of Muskingum's cheer leaders. Jack married Suzi on December 20, 1968, and after college started a pet shop and petting zoo, worked for a wildlife adventure company and directed a small Florida zoo. Over the years they have raised a baby white tiger, wallabies, many ducks (in the family jacuzzi bath), a few chimps, a spider monkey, a llama and three daughters (Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie). The family's move to Columbus, Ohio in 1978 was the start of his becoming a national celebrity.
Jack has also hosted numerous specials for PBS, Discovery, and The Nashville Network. Jack's conservation work has taken him throughout India, Europe, Africa, Antarctica, South America, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon and the Orient. And, he is the host of his own hit nature series, "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures." It is a nationally syndicated show that appears in 150 markets across the country reaching 95% of U.S. television households every weekend taking viewers on exciting journeys to learn about animals and the places they live. Today, Jack is Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo (since 1993), but he has not slowed his pace. He has been instrumental in Muskingum College's development of an interdisciplinary conservation major and a important supporter of the establishment of THE WILDS, a 10,000 acres wildlife preserve designed to preserve and reestablished endangered species. His syndicated series continues to take him around the world, he makes countless presentations, he still serves as a frequent guest on TV shows, and he remains active in the zoo and his community.
He is a Professional Fellow of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association and a member of the Explorer's Club. He is also an active supporter of Easter Seals and the Leukemia Society and serves on the boards of several educational institutions. While he takes all of his civic duties seriously, wildlife conservation remains Jack Hanna's true calling.