Lions, Tigers And An Unbearable Year At Jack Hanna’s Zoo

FILE—In this Sept. 5, 2013, file photo, Jack Hanna stands at the front entrance of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. It's been a challenging year that began on Jan. 1, 2021, the first day of famed zookeeper Hanna's retirement — after 42 years as the beloved celebrity director-turned-ambassador of the nation’s second-largest zoo. But the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' president predicts incoming CEO Tom Schmid can bring the zoo “roaring back.” (Tom Dodge/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

(AP) — It’s been a bear of a year for Ohio’s Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the nation’s second-largest zoological park. Famous zookeeper Jack Hanna’s retirement started in January. In March, a newspaper investigation found financial abuses by top zoo executives. Resignations and investigations followed. In April, a damning animal rights documentary featuring Hanna premiered. A day later, in timing they said was unrelated, his family announced Hanna has dementia and would retire from public life. In October, the zoo lost its main accreditation. Still, the president of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums predicts incoming CEO Tom Schmid can bring the zoo “roaring back.”


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