Wildlife Expert Jack Hanna Diagnosed with Dementia, Retires from Public Life

Photo from Jack Hanna’s Twitter – Posted by Family

Wildlife Expert Jack Hanna Diagnosed with Dementia, Retires from Public Life

By Movieguide® Staff

Renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna, who made frequent appearances on TV, announced his retirement from public life due to dementia.

“Doctors have diagnosed our dad, Jack Hanna, with dementia, now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease,” Hanna’s family wrote on Twitter. “His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated. Sadly, Dad is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to, where people all over the world watched, learned and laughed alongside him.”

Hanna made many appearances on late-night and daytime TV, showcasing his animals and wildlife expertise.


Hanna, 76, stepped down after 42 years as director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in December 2020.

“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been a major part of our lives since we moved to Central Ohio as young girls in 1978,” Hanna’s daughters wrote. “From day one, Dad advocated for improved wildlife habitats and focused on connecting the community with animals. After he left his active management role as Executive Director in 1992, he continued to be a spokesperson for the zoo until his retirement last year.”

The statement also honored Hanna’s wife, Suzi, who “has been by his side for 53 years in every corner of the world.”

“While Dad’s health has deteriorated quickly, we can assure you that his great sense of humor continues to shine through. And yes – he still wears his khakis at home,” the statement reads. “To keep everyone safe in light of COVID-19 restrictions, we are asking for privacy, which is ironic given Dad’s love of interacting with people. We are grateful that the many hearts he’s touched over the years are with him during this journey, which gives us strength.”