Entries in Jack Hanna (2)


Jack Hanna: Animal Killings Were Necessary to Avoid 'Carnage' in Ohio

ABC News(ZANESVILLE, Ohio) -- There was no choice but to kill 49 animals -- including tigers, lions and bears -- that were released from their enclosures in Zanesville, Ohio, wildlife expert Jack Hanna told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“I’m sorry to say, but what the sheriff did had to be done,” Hanna said.  “Otherwise, we would have had carnage out here in Zanesville, Ohio."

“Tragedy-wise for me,” he added, “[it's] probably the worst thing in 45 years of history of working with animals. … I’ve seen poachers kill in the wild.  I’ve seen animals killed right in front of me with their horns cut off.  I’ve seen a lot of things happen in my career, but nothing like this have I ever witnessed.”

Hanna said tranquilizing wild animals is not as easy as many people believe.

“I’ve been out all over the world tranquilizing animals,” he said.  “Can you imagine trying to tranquilize an animal in the dark.  Fine, we have a spotlight.  We hit it.  You don’t know exactly: Did you hit a muscle?  Did you hit a bone?  If you hit the bone, the plunger might not work and put the medicine in.  So what do we do?  Then we send a veterinarian or the sheriff up there to see if the animal is down, right?  What’s gonna happen if the animal is just sitting there not even asleep?  You’re dead.”

Hanna told Sawyer that when the wife of Terry Thompson, the man who released the animals and then committed suicide, arrived on the scene, she was shaking and angry.

“She said she was coming to rip me apart because I was taking her animals,” said Hanna, who is helping move the remaining animals to the Columbus Zoo in Powell, Ohio.  “When she came in there, she was totally not -- just nothing was left.  Her husband had just committed suicide. … She has 30-something animals laying there in her driveway that are gone. … She was shivering.  I hugged her.  I started crying with her."

“I could have yelled at her -- you know … to lose 18 Bengal tigers in the world today is beyond a tragic loss,” Hanna said.  “I can’t describe what that does to me, along with all the other creatures.  But when you see a woman that’s lost everything, what do you do?  Do I sit there and yell at her? … I sit there and console her and tell her I’m going to try to help her with her animals that’s left, which is nothing, basically.  That’s all I could do.”

Sawyer asked Hanna how long the event would stay with him.

“It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hanna said.  “What happened here [Tuesday] night had to be done or else we would have had some major losses of human life here this morning.  And I won’t forget what happened here today as long as I ever live.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wild Animals Loose in Ohio: Town Under Lockdown

Fred Polks, Jr.UPDATE: The only animal believed to still be at large is a monkey, Zanesville police said Wednesday.

(ZANESVILLE, Ohio) --  A grizzly bear, mountain lion and a monkey are still on the loose in Ohio after authorities hunted down as many as 51 ferocious animals that were set free by the owner of an animal preserve before he killed himself.

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz told reporters he can't be 100 percent sure that those three animals are the only ones unaccounted for.

Lutz and ABC News' wildlife expert Jack Hanna, who will take the living animals at the preserve to the Columbus Zoo, urged the public to remain cautious.

"If you see these animals you do not run," said Hanna, who added he is most concerned about the mountain lion, since those animals have "great leaping ability."

The sheriff said that when his men arrived at the animal preserve in Zanesville, they found bears, lions, Bengal tigers, black bears, and leopards roaming the area. Since it was about to get dark, he feared the animals would escape into the night.

He said his deputies had to kill animals at close range with their sidearms. One animal that got away was hit by a car on a highway some distance away, he said.

The animals' cages were opened up by Terry Thompson, who owned an animal preserve in Zanesville. Thompson killed himself after freeing his menagerie, Lutz said.

Hanna and his vets visited the farm Wednesday, calling conditions deplorable.

The man who is believed to have set the animals free, Thompson, 61, was recently released from prison after serving one year on federal weapons charges. According to investigators he has been cited in the past for animal abuse and neglect.

Lutz said at a news conference that residents should stay inside until the animals, which escaped around 6 p.m. Tuesday, are rounded up. Several schools across the area have cancelled classes for Wednesday.

Police, who have been ordered to shoot to kill, describe the loose animals as "mature, very big and aggressive."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio