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Jack Hanna celebrates 35 years at Columbus Zoo educating animal lovers

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Wild man Jack Hanna celebrated his 35th anniversary at the Columbus Zoo on Wednesday with family and friends. He has brought many years of fun, inspiration and most importantly, education to wildlife lovers across the country. 10TV spoke to the zoo’s director on Sept. 18 about his humble beginnings and what might be in store for the zoo in the future.

Hanna said that he never believed that he would ever be feeding animals such as a manatee or a koala. “If you asked me about a dream in 1978, would the zoo ever have a koala, I’d say, ‘Are you kidding me? All I want is one zebra and maybe a warthog or something up here,’” he said.

He certainly has much more than just a zebra and a warthog. The Columbus Zoo hosts thousands of visitors every year to be able to catch a glimpse of their favorite wild creatures that are housed there.

This man that hails from Tennessee told 10TV that before he came to the zoo, he didn’t even know what a gorilla was. He has since given a gorilla or two a nice home after making sure that they have a clean place to live. He is all about making learning about conservation fun for others.

He has been doing that for many years, especially as he has been dropping by the “David Letterman Show” since 1985. He says that he has more than lived a dream. He does have a legacy that is continuing well into the future.

That future includes a brand new Africa exhibit that opens in May of next year. It seems that he is also determined to have pandas in the zoo’s future. Now that would be exciting!

As for the anniversary celebration yesterday, Hanna was surprised when everyone donned khaki just like his own signature style. They also launched brand new ‘Hannaversary’ t-shirts that are available to purchase. Even his grandkids from England got in on the celebration by wearing their own style of khaki. It sounds like it was quite a fun day.

The 66-year-old zoo director expressed his appreciation by tweeting, “Sue and I are beyond honored, surprised, and thankful for this community! I don't even know how to start thanking everyone!”

Happy Hannaversary, Jack Hanna!

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