6. Jack Hanna

Photo courtesy of Sheldrick Trust

If you’re one of those people who need an example to follow, I recommend looking at Jack Hanna. In his autobiography, “Jungle Jack: My Wild Life,” Hanna admitted that from an early age he knew that he had a love for animals. On the ranch where he grew up, he met the veterinarian for the Knoxville Zoo named Dr. Roberts. At the young age of eleven he worked in Dr. Roberts’ local vet clinic. But, it wasn’t until after he graduated from Muskingum College with a Bachelor of Arts degree that he got to work with animals again.

He opened a pet shop called Pet Kingdom with his wife Suzi.  Later he took on the job of being the director for a zoo in Columbus, Ohio. Unfortunately, the zoo’s habitats weren’t up to date and there was a low attendance rate. In an interview for National Geographic, Hanna reveals just how bad it was by saying that “the Zoo was under the City’s Sewers and Drains dept.” In order to improve the zoo and bring in more guests, he made educational and entertaining events by creating zoo education departments. In his own personal website called “Jack Hanna” he said that this is “a goal that the zoo is still working to achieve today.”

But, his popularity didn’t really grow until he took up the growing trend of using animal ambassadors to reach out to the public. I have him to thank, along with several others, that my passion for wild animals grew to what it is today. Hanna made appearances on shows like ”The Late Night Show with David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres,” and “Larry King Live.” He became so successful with this that he was given his own shows called “Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” and “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild.” It just goes to show you that keeping up with the trend and being able to affectively communicate with the public can work to your advantage.

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