Former zookeeper Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia, family says

He will no longer be able to participate in public life

Photo courtesy of Brevard Zoo

The Hanna family shared a piece of sad news with the world on Wednesday.

Their father, Jack Hanna, has been diagnosed with dementia, now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease, and will no longer be able to participate in public life, according to a letter they shared.

In the letter, Jack’s daughters Kathaleen, Suzanne and Julie Hana revealed that their dad’s condition has progressed a lot faster than anyone predicted and requested privacy during the difficult time.

The former zookeeper and director, who retired in December 2020, has had a lasting impact on the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in his role as a zoo director from 1978 to 1992.

In the letter, his children highlighted his passion for connecting people and wildlife and said that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been a major piece of their lives since they were young girls.

“Even though Dad is no longer able to travel and work in the same way, we know that his infectious enthusiasm has touched many hearts and will continue to be his legacy,” they said.

The family said that while their dad will no longer be able to take part in public life like he used to, he and the family will never stop showing support for the Columbus Zoo and conservation efforts around the world.


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