Famous animal expert Jack Hanna diagnosed with dementia, family confirms

Stay strong, Jack. We're all rooting for you!


Jack Hanna, or better known as “Jungle Jack,” is one of the most beloved animal experts that we know of. This man’s TV appearances on a number of talk shows, including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “Late night with David Letterman” and “Today,” made him a much-loved TV personality. Hanna first appeared on the screens back in 1983, when he brought a baby gorilla on “Good Morning America.”

Ever since, he stole the hearts of millions of animal lovers and that led to his own shows such as Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild.

A few days ago, Hanna’s family shared some sad news regarding his health with the fans. Through his Twitter account, Hanna’s three daughters wrote how their father was diagnosed with dementia and how his health was deteriorating.

“Today, we reach out to share some personal Hanna Family news. Doctors have diagnosed our dad, Jack Hanna, with dementia, now believed to be Alzheimer’s disease. 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.

“A passion for wildlife conservation and education has been at the core of who our dad is and everything he has accomplished with the help of so many.”

“He has spent his life connecting people and wildlife because he has always believed that having people see and experience animals is key to engaging them in more impactful conservation efforts. He’s always said, ‘You have to touch the heart to teach the mind.’

“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.”

The now 76-year-old Hanna retired from the position of director and then director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in December 2020 after 42 years of service. The zoo is still considered one of the most beautiful ones in the country.

Hanna’s former colleagues are asking people to join them in sending messages of support to the family.

Stay strong, Jack Hanna.