Jungle Jack Hanna

The professional nickname of Jack Hanna, the Director of the Columbus Zoo in Columbus Ohio (Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo since 1993).


Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Jack, a former pet shop/petting zoo operator and director of a small Florida Zoo, moved his wife, Suzi and their three daughters to Columbus in 1978 to become the Director of Columbus Zoo, which, at the time was rundown.

Jack revitalized the zoo and now maintains his media presence (which often comes off as an absent-minded professor persona) as a regular guest on shows like GOOD MORNING AMERICA, LARRY KING LIVE, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN, HOLLYWOOD SQUARES and THE MAURY POVICH SHOW.

During his visits, he shows off cute, exotic and sometimes dangerous animals. On an early appearance on David Letterman’s show, a Beaver that Jack brought on the show bit into his thumb and nearly severed it from his hand. Years later, Jack mentioned that he still has no feeling in his thumb.

Hanna is also the host of JACK HANNA’S ANIMAL ADVENTURES, as well, as the author of “Monkeys on the Interstate” (1989 – his autobiography), “Let’s Go To The Petting Zoo with Jungle Jack” (1992) and “Jungle Jack Hanna’s What Zoo-Keepers Do?” (1999).


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Animals, Jungle, Showbiz Nicknames

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