TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After more than four decades at the Columbus Zoo, Jack Hanna is ready to call it a day.
The popular zookeeper known for his appearances on late night television and eponymous shows, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild, plans to retire at the end of the year after 42 years as the zoo’s director, the park announced Thursday.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Hanna and his wife Suzi, plan to spend more time with their six grandchildren and will split their time at their home near the zoo, their home in Montana and their home near Jupiter, Fla.
His popular television shows, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild and Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown will end, but Hanna will still be making some public appearances.
“Jack has connected people to wildlife and inspired many to learn and care about a variety of species around the world,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium president and CEO Tom Stalf. “That’s the biggest part of Jack’s legacy. I have known and worked with Jack for over 25 years, and have watched him engage people from around the world as they travel to meet him and hear his stories.”
Hanna was hired by the zoo in 1978 and became its director emeritus in 1992. He nabbed 15 Emmy nominations for his work on “Into the Wild,” winning five.
The Columbus Zoo attracted more than 2.2 million visitors last year. Zoo officials tell the Dispatch his legacy will forever remain a part of the facility.
You can read Jack Hanna’s full retirement announcement on the zoo’s website.
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