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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Ryley Wilcox
Ryley Wilcox
News Editor

I found my passion for journalism during my sophomore year of college, writing articles here and there for the North Wind. Since joining the staff this past semester as the news writer, I have been able...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan Poe April 12, 2024

An evening with ‘Jungle Jack’

Before arriving at NMU for his Oct. 4 appearance, animal expert Jack Hanna spoke with North Wind reporter Jamie Reed on wildlife, real life and what to expect next Thursday when he and his animal friends visit Vandament Arena.

NW: First of all, where are you in your career right now?

Jack Hanna: I’m 60 years old, so I’ve been doing this since 1969, almost 40 years. Now my career is basically helping the country of Rwanda, with not only the mountain gorillas, but also (my family) has a home there so I help with the schools there, my wife and I. We’re finishing up our new TV series called “Jack Hanna: Into the Wild.”
I’m writing four books right now. My autobiography is for Thomas Nelson Publishing out of Nashville. I’m doing that right now, along with three kids books, so you can see I’m not retiring much.
I also visit television shows; Letterman, “Good Morning America.” So we do all those. In my career right now, I want to go to my place in Montana and hike in Glacier Park, where I live. That’s kind of my outlook on life.

NW: What is the most terrifying experience you’ve had so far working with a live animal?

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JH: I don’t use the word terrifying in a situation like that.
I don’t film like other people. I respect the animal world, and I have been in [such] a situation, yes, you don’t do this for 40 years [without being in a situation]. I try not to put myself in [those] situations, using respect for the animals. For example, I was in a two-man sub that was about 200 and some feet into the ocean and it started leaking. I was in a hanglider over Victoria Falls that almost went down. Matter of fact, the pilot of that hanglider was killed three weeks after I left, so we dedicated the show to him. A beaver almost bit my left thumb off, and I was bitten by a 19-foot anaconda once on my right hand.
Whenever you’re hurt by an animal, 99 percent of the time it’s your fault, not the animal’s fault. So always remember that. I try not to put myself in a situation where I get hurt. All animals are just being what they are, what they were created to be, so the word dangerous isn’t really fair to a lot of them because [they’re just] defenseless.

NW: If it’s not a secret, what kind of animals are going to be accompanying you on your trip to NMU?

JH: We’ll have a cheetah, we’ll have a spotted leopard, we’ll have a snow leopard, we’ll have snakes, we’ll have birds of prey, all sorts of things.

NW: A majority of students living in the Upper Peninsula have only seen exotic animals in zoos or on television. What do you hope your program brings to Northern students?

JH: Basically, I want to educate them in a fun way, so that they learn. Educate them about our life in a fun way and an educational way, so they leave there with a real fascination. I’m going to show some of my favorite clips from my trips to Rwanda, see the mountain gorillas, see the baby rhinos and see a baby bear in New Mexico. I’ll show clips from some of my favorite shows, then I’ll show about 18 animals. So it’s a clip, an animal, a clip, and I’ll go out in the audience and talk to people, sign autographs before and after the show. It’s just a real hour-and-a-half fast-paced show for the whole family. But I don’t recommend anybody under three, just anybody from 3-years-old to 100-years-old.

NW: What advice would you give to somebody who’s interested in working with animals as a career?

JH: Get out there and not only get a degree, but also when you’re 15, like I did, start working [with] a veterinarian or at a humane society, volunteer any way you can in the animal world. You’ve got to have [more than] just an education, you’ve got to get out there and get some work done in the field. And that’s ideally a humane society or a farm or whatever. Always look at the resum

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