Letters 07-21-2014


While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Jack Hanna
. . . .

Jack Hanna

Erin Crowell - April 26th, 2010
Wild Side of Petoskey:“Jungle” Jack Hanna featured at 2010 North Central Michigan College Lecture Series
By Erin Crowell
Jack Hanna has been making late night talk show hosts nervous with his
exotic animals since 1985. Hanna has even been in the wildlife industry
longer than Earth Day has existed, which is currently celebrating its 40th
Along with his current title as Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, the
naturalist and TV host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild has become an
ambassador to the animal kingdom, bringing the general populous closer to
understanding exotic wildlife from around the world.
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1947, Jack Bushnell Hanna started working
with animals at the age of 11, cleaning cages for the family veterinarian
– a job he says he didn’t mind because of his love for animals. After
marrying his wife Suzi, Hanna opened a pet shop in Knoxville before
receiving an invitation to direct a small zoo in Sanford, Florida in 1973.
From there, he became a zoo director in Columbus, Ohio, turning the
outdated animal habitats and aquarium of the Columbus Zoo into a place
where millions of people visit each year.
With the birth of baby twin gorillas at the zoo in 1983, Hanna was invited
to appear on Good Morning America – since then, he has served as a
wildlife correspondent for several TV news outlets and has appeared, along
with numerous species, on shows like Larry King Live, Hollywood Squares,
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Entertainment Tonight and The Late Show with
David Letterman.
Between filming for his Emmy award wining TV show, Hanna appears regularly
at colleges and nonprofit events across the country. Hanna will speak at
the North Central Michigan College Lecture Series in Petoskey, on
Thursday, April 29. He will bring several animals with him, including a
cheetah, flamingo, penguin, sloth and lynx, among others.
The Northern Express talked with Hanna over the phone, who—in a very
excitable manner—discussed his passion for animals and the impact we all
have on their lives.

Northern Express: You just returned from filming for your TV series, “Into
the Wild.” Where did you go?
Jack Hanna: I was on safari in South Africa and Malaysia filming
orangutans, cobras, elephants, all sorts of creatures. We tracked down a
cheetah on foot and we were down near the Cape filming the black-footed
penguins. We even actually helped some baboons cross a road – that was
fun. And, we did a story on elephant poaching and I got to become a ranger
for two days. We got back 12 hours before the (Iceland) volcano grounded
all the flights over there.

NE: How much time do you spend on the road?
Hanna: We do about 22 shows a year, and I do about 80 to 100 events from
coast to coast. I travel about 260 days a year. That also includes book
tours. I do a lot of speaking events. I have like six jobs.

NE: The animals that you bring with you at speaking engagements and on
television shows, do they come from the Columbus Zoo?
Hanna: They come from nine zoos from around the country. I’m working with
zoos in Florida, California, New York, Texas…it all depends on where I’m

NE: Okay, here’s the fifth grade question: What animal is your favorite?
Hanna: Oh boy, it’s hard because I love all animals; but I would have to
say the mountain gorilla…or the elephant…and there’s certain kinds of
insects that fascinate me. The dung beetle in Africa rolls up into
elephant poop and hibernates there. I’m also fascinated by certain birds;
and I love whales and dolphins…

NE: You sound so excited when you talk about animals. Would you say
working with them has kept you young – both in body and spirit?
Hanna: Oh yes. I think working with animals does keep you spiritually
young. I have traveled to all corners of the world; and this is just an
amazing, incredible planet we have. I teach conservation and how we can
take care of the planet and wildlife. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist
to figure out that what happens to our resources, affects animals, and in
turn, affects us.

NE: What do you tell critics of your work?
Hanna: I’ve tried working with animal rights groups, and some of those
people are just plain nut cases. You can’t just put all the animals back
out into the wild. That’s why we have zoos – good zoos, not bad ones. We
have 220 of them in this country. Ninety nine percent of our animals come
from other zoos – animals that are born in captivity. Not everyone has the
means to travel like I do, and this allows people to see these animals up
close. People leave learning something.

NE: Would you say there’s an endangered species or issue that particularly
deserves our attention?
Hanna: Yes, there are animals on the verge of extinction, but I think you
have to look at every little creature as something important. I don’t want
to pick out the killer whale, the gorilla, or what-not. If we can’t save
our icon species then what are we doing wrong?

When I became zoo director at the Columbus Zoo in 1978, there were 1.41
million elephants. Today, there’s less than 375,000. The black rhino: back
in 1978, there were 60,000. Now, there are less than 30,000. But I’m
optimistic. A lot of these animals are holding steady. You have to be
optimistic with what I do. It’s like a football game. You go out there to

NE: Which takes us back to the objective of zoos, right?
Hanna: Right. Zoos are the one of the keys to saving wildlife. There are
182 million visits to zoos each year – compare that to professional sports
like NASCAR and professional baseball combined. How many people can do
what I do? Unfortunately, not everyone can; but they can go see these
animals at a zoological park. People living in Northern Michigan might
say, ‘Why do I care about the elephant and rhino?’ Once they go see them,
whether it’s at the Detroit Zoo or somewhere else, they say, ‘Hey, that’s
pretty cool.’ If we can’t teach our young people to love something, you
can’t teach them to save it. You have to love what you want to save. And
that’s what we teach.

See “Jungle” Jack Hanna, along with several animal species, at North
Central Michigan College, in Petoskey, on Thursday, April 29, at 7 p.m..
The lecture will be held in the college’s Student and Community Resource
Center Gymnasium. Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the 2010 Lecture Series,
call 231-439-6349.

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