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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jungle Jack’ visits A&M

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Allison Bradshaw — THE BATTALION

Wearing his characteristic Aussie hat, Jack Hanna and his cast of live animals from across the world captivated an Aggieland audience Saturday.
Bringing in tow a variety of hand-raised and rescued animals, ranging from owls to alligators, Jack Hanna, known to most as “Jungle Jack,” is on a cross-country tour with his series “Into the Wild Live!” During the show in Rudder Tower, Hanna promoted the protection and conservation for wildlife management and animal welfare.
“My speeches are for education and they’re a lot of fun, but there are serious issues mentioned in the speeches that are presented in a way everybody out there can understand,” Hanna said. “I’ll be speaking from anywhere from a 3-year-old to a 100-year-old out there, and when I talk I hope everybody can learn something.”
Between each animal appearance, Hanna showed videos of other species in their natural habitats, such as black bears and mountain gorillas.
“You’ll notice in some countries, if you don’t see animals or pets or things like that, where everything’s gone, you know there’s a problem,” Hanna said. “I used to do prison talks to prisoners, and I’d ask 100 prisoners, ‘How many of you had a pet when you were growing up?’ And maybe three out of a hundred would raise their hands. So, I set an example of teaching young people to go to a zoological park.”
Hanna said zoological parks are very important, and estimated 176 million people went to zoos last year.
“That’s more than pro football and Nascar,” Hanna said.
Hanna’s show “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” first aired in 1993. Since then, first appearing on television as a zookeeper trying to educate the public about animals, Hanna has traveled all across the globe documenting creatures big and small and the people who care for them.
“I was really excited that he was coming to College Station,” said veterinary medicine student Beverly Crocker. “I grew up watching his shows and I’ve always loved animals. Watching his shows on the weekends were the highlight of my Saturday mornings — instead of watching cartoons I was watching him, reading anything I could about him or learning all the facts about animals. It was really exciting for me to actually see him, kind of like a childhood dream come true.”
While Hanna’s first appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in 1985 jump started his media career, Hannah is also known for his work revolutionizing the zoo industry as director of the now-famous Columbus Zoo and Aquarium beginning in 1978, said Rachel Csaszar, communications assistant at Jack Hanna’s Columbus Zoo office.
“He travels about 200 days a year,” Csaszar said. “He’s actually the master of PR without even knowing it. He built the Columbus Zoo from pretty much nothing. It had been owned by the sewers and drains department in the 70s. The zoo has been around since the 1920s, but zoos have changed a lot since then. Animals were living on concrete behind bars, and that’s how people saw them.”

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