Born Jack Bushnell Hanna on January 2, 1947, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is one of the best known animal experts, often appearing with wild creatures on a number of television shows, including his own, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. His love of animals started at young age with a job working for a local veterinarian.
Hanna attended to Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where he met his wife Suzi. Sometime after graduation, the couple opened a pet store in his hometown of Knoxville. In 1973, Hanna got his dream job; he became a director at the Central Florida Zoo. Five years later, he took on another challenge, working as the executive director of the Columbus Zoo. At the time, the zoo needed to attract more visitors, and the facilities needed to be revamped. Hanna helped raise the necessary funds as well as the zoo’s public profile.
In the 1980s, Hanna became nationally known for his appearances on television. In 1983, he was a guest on Good Morning America. Viewers enjoyed watching him and learning about the interesting animals he brought with him so much that he became a regular guest and correspondent for the show. Two years later, he started visiting The Late Show with David Letterman regularly. In 1988, Hanna joined Larry King Live as a regular guest. That same year, he published his first book, Monkeys on the Interstate, which shared many stories about his adventures with animals and his work with the Columbus Zoo.
Because of his busy schedule, Hanna stepped down from running the day-to-day operations of the zoo in 1992 and became its director emeritus. After years of being a guest on many shows, he got his own syndicated program in 1993. Still popular, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures has been on the air for almost fifteen years. He also continues to be a regular guest on Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Larry King Live, as well as serving as a wildlife correspondent for FOX News. Hanna also has a new series in the works called Into the Wild, which will feature him exploring exotic locales and encountering the animals that live in these places.
In addition to his television work, Hanna is on the board of directors for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and serves as the national spokesperson for A Special Wish Foundation. He also has received several honorary degrees for his work. Many others have followed in his television footsteps, such as the late Steve Irwin, promoting awareness about animals.