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After 42 years, Jungle Jack Hanna retires from the Columbus Zoo

Jack Hanna served as both director and director emeritus of the zoo for 42 years.

POWELL, Ohio — 2021 marks a new era for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium  – one without Jack Hanna.

Jungle Jack begins his retirement Friday after serving as both director and director emeritus for 42 years.

The zoo says even though he is retiring, visitors will still feel his presence all over the place. 

“Jack Hanna has made an incredible difference for wildlife across the globe and is a true inspiration to our Central Ohio community and most certainly our staff. Throughout the 25 years that I’ve worked with Jack, I’ve appreciated his authenticity and his endless energy and devotion to making the world a better place. While Jack is retiring from his official role, his legacy will be ever present in our work as we continue to fulfill our organization’s mission to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife. We are extremely grateful for the impact Jack and Suzi Hanna have made over the last 42 years, and we are proud to continue building on our organization’s strong foundation to achieve many more successes in the future as we work to protect the future of wildlife and wild places,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.  

The zoo says while retirement is a new adventure for Jack and his family, he maintains that the Columbus Zoo and central Ohio will always be their home.  

“We are so grateful that Central Ohio welcomed us with open arms all those years ago. Being able to help transform the Columbus Zoo has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I am so lucky to have been able to follow my dream of working with animals and hope that we have inspired many others to do the same along the way,” Jack said in a statement.

RELATED: Jack Hanna, Suzi Hanna named "Humanitarians of the Year" by the Red Cross

RELATED: Jack Hanna reflects on future, 41 years with Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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