Director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Jack Hanna signs autographs for children prior to his program "Go Wild With Jack Hanna" at Cedarville University on Nov. 22, 2008. LISA POWELL / STAFF FILE

Jack Hanna, famed Columbus Zoo director, announces retirement

>> PHOTOS: Jack Hanna visited Cedarville in 2017

One of the best known zoo personalities, Hanna, 73, has hosted several television series, written 15 books and has been the media’s “go-to” wildlife correspondent. He permeated pop culture while sharing amazing animals with audiences worldwide, including on through television appearances on morning and late-night talk shoes.

Hanna’s last day will be Dec. 31, though he will retain the uncompensated role of zoo director emeritus, the zoo announced Thursday in a news release.

“As I approach my mid-70s with more than four decades at the Columbus Zoo, I believe it is time to wind down and officially step back while CEO Tom Stalf and the zoo’s great leadership team continue to guide the zoo into the future,” Hanna said. “Together with many friends and partners, we’ve come a long way to make the world a better place for people and wildlife!” 

The zoo’s announcement of Hanna’s retirement comes the day before it reopens to the public after it had been closed for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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