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Menagerie In Airport Hell

Menagerie In Airport Hell

By Stuart M. Smith

A zookeeper, a flamingo, a mongoose, and a small leopard go to the airport – it sounds like a bad joke, but it was actually just a very bad day for Jack Hanna, the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Hanna and three companions were returning from a zoo fundraiser with the crated animals. However, on arriving at the airport,
the menagerie found the terminal closed and the only egress from the tarmac being a turnstile surrounded by ten foot bars.

"Jungle Jack" was attempting to take a 2x3 foot crate containing a flamingo through the turnstile when he got stuck, trapping them both inside. The rest of the party was also trapped, albeit on the tarmac outside the airport. Hanna, 60, was eventually able to free himself, and three firefighters later freed the 11-month old flamingo.

This is not Hanna's first time running afoul;
whilst a student at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, he was chided for keeping ducks in his dorm room and a donkey in a shed behind his fraternity house.

In perhaps one of Hanna's best known incidents, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was bitten on the chin by a baby cougar Hanna brought to the US Capitol in November, 1995.

More strange goings on in the animal world:

- Scary - When pets go bad
- Weird - Suicide squirrels
- Harsh - Grandad kills mad rodent
- Funny - The 'truth' about  big cats in Britain

Image: Donald Cook

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15 Mar 2009
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