AZA Annual Conference – Jack Hanna

After the keynote, Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, received the AZA R Marlin Perkins Award for Professional Excellence. For those of you who don’t know him, Hanna is a regular guest on morning news shows, late night talk shows, and pretty much anyone with a TV show and a desk in-between. He typically brings an assortment of animal ambassadors with him. He also stars in his own TV show, Into the Wild.

Classic Hanna

For a guy who sometimes comes off as hoaky (to me) on TV, Hanna in person was sincere and humble. Apparently his college president called him into his office as a senior and tried to talk him out of going into zookeeping, because among other things, “zoos smell.” Amusing. Interestingly, literally while I was typing this, a security guard approached me and asked me about the conference. He had heard Jack Hanna was here and was very excited. After I explained it to him, he listed the numerous wildlife shows he has watched over the years, how he just learned about the “walking stick” bug and how a recent show on polar bears prompted him to donate money for their conservation. I’m wondering if the AZA planted this guy and sent him my way because I’m wearing a press badge. Kidding. But it would have been a really smart move if they did.


  1. #1 Zach Miller
    September 16, 2008

    Yeah, I never really like Hanna on TV because it seems like he’s got ADHD to the MAX. The man can’t stay on topic for more than five seconds (on TV). That’s probably due to the talk show format, though.

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    September 16, 2008

    To me, he’s always come off like a huckster who doesn’t really know the biology of the animals he exhibits. Can’t remember specific examples, but my wife and I used to grimace at each other a lot over his glib errors.

  3. #3 george
    November 6, 2008

    next jack hanna show in TV?

  4. #4 L.E.
    June 18, 2011

    I think Jack Hannah has done wonders with encouraging everyday people who are not scientists become interested in animals. He is very fast talking and I have also wondered if he has ADHD but if he does have it, what does it matter. I think his mind is so full of information and so far ahead of his speaking that he doesn’t always hear what someone may be asking. Also, he can’t know the answer to every question about all aspects of zoology but he holds my interest on tv and has furthered my interest in the oddities, facts and the state of animals, reptiles and insects worldwide. If he can do that for 1 person out of 10, he’s a success! People are bombarded every day with so much info and if there isn’t an additional aspect to catch people’s attention (such as his energy and enthusiastic nature or a distinctive voice), then people tend not to pay attention. I’d love to hear him speak in person.

    How many people ended up knowing more about crocodiles and stingrays because of Steve Irwin, his enthusiasm and antics and sadly, his untimely death?

  5. #5 Irma Christler
    July 2, 2012

    Writer for Wikipedia Page ; Text writer and format pag by AFFPS

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