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?

New comments have been disabled.