ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia

Apr 8, 2021, 6:54 AM
FILE - Wildlife advocate Jack Hanna poses for a portrait with a serval cub in New York on Oct. 12, ...
FILE - Wildlife advocate Jack Hanna poses for a portrait with a serval cub in New York on Oct. 12, 2015. The family of celebrity zookeeper and TV show host Jack Hanna said he's been diagnosed with dementia and will retire from public life. (Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP, file)
(Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP, file)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Celebrity zookeeper and animal TV show host Jack Hanna has been diagnosed with dementia and will retire from public life, his family said.

In a news release Wednesday, his family added that it’s believed he now has Alzheimer’s disease that has quickly progressed in the last few months.

The 74-year-old Hanna was director of the Columbus Zoo from 1978 to 1992 and still serves as its director emeritus.

“Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals,” the statement signed by his three daughters said. Hanna continued to be a spokesperson for the Ohio zoo until he retired in 2020.

Hanna is also well-known for his live animal demonstrations on talk shows hosted by Johnny Carson, David Letterman and James Corden, increasing the profile of the Columbus Zoo and leading to massive attendance increases over the years.

Hanna, who always wore khakis on every television appearance and in photos, hosted the popular syndicated TV show “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” from 1993 to 2008. He also hosted “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild,” which started in 2007, and “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown” until last year.

“While Dad’s health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through,” the statement said. “And yes, he still wears his khakis at home.”

His family asked for privacy in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

“He has spent his life connecting people and wildlife because he has always believed that having people see and experience animals is key to engaging them in more impactful conversations,” his family said. “Even though Dad is no longer able to travel and work in the same way, we know that his infectious enthusiasm has touched many hearts and will continue to be his legacy.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Arts + Entertainment

FILE - Motown's Barrett Strong arrives at the induction ceremony for 35th annual National Academy o...
CNN

Barrett Strong, Motown singer and songwriter, dead at 81

   (CNN) — Barrett Strong, the voice and songwriter behind Motown Records’ first hit, has died, according to a post from The Motown Museum. He was 81. “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of legendary @classicmotown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong. The voice behind @motownrecords’ first hit, the iconic “Money (That’s What […]
3 days ago
January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
6 days ago
KSL Newsradio's Park City correspondent Joe Davis says Slamdance showcases important independent fi...
Mark Jackson

The Slamdance Film Festival; a fun, quirky alternative to Sundance

The Slamdance Film Festival offers an alternative to the Sundance Film Festival. The event screens movies through Jan 26.
8 days ago
Senator Mike Lee is among those working on an amendment to protect religious liberties in The Respe...
Aimee Cobabe

Sen. Lee quotes Taylor Swift lyrics during Ticket Master/Live Nation hearing

Who knew Sen. Mike Lee is a swiftie? The senator quoted Taylor Swift lyrics multiple times at a senate committee hearing Tuesday.
9 days ago
After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a special bag featuring its new Pu...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN

M&M benches spokescandies for Maya Rudolph

After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M, M&M'S says it is taking a step back from its candy reps.
9 days ago
20160307



A hydrogen bomb is tested in Nevada. "Downwinders" says the bombs released radioactive ...
Mark Jackson

McAdams at Slamdance Film Festival, speaks on “Downwind” film

As a Utah congressman, McAdams introduced an amendment to a funding bill to prevent the resumption of nuclear weapons testing.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia