This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 30, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A very special edition of "On the Record" — we took the show on the road and went wild with "Jungle" Jack Hanna. Over the next hour, we will give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the most largest, most popular animal parks in the world, the Columbus Zoo. We'll introduce you to some of the most dangerous, most fearsome and most lovable animals from all seven continents.
Our first stop was a visit with the dingoes and the penguins.
JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: So Greta, this is the Columbus zoo. This is why I think I'm most proud of it, and I think all the people here are the most proud of the Columbus Zoo. The Columbus Zoo back in 1977, '78, and not just when I came here — we put together a group of people to save the zoo. It almost closed its doors. It's a real success story. The people of central Ohio, our staff, our trustees have literally built this zoo. We just passed a property tax in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin County, for $192 million for the zoo.
VAN SUSTEREN: By what percentage vote?
HANNA: About 30 percent.
VAN SUSTEREN: So everybody really does love it.
HANNA: Everybody loves their zoo. And now it's almost on 600 acres. And we have the wilds, which is on, believe it or not, 10,000 acres. So this entire zoological concept is really the future of many, many animals. And remember something. A zoo is for conservation, education, research and entertainment. So the main thing about a zoo is obviously education because if we don't educate people about animals, it does us no good to have the animals.
VAN SUSTEREN: I took a walk through. It's awfully clean in there. I mean, you could eat off the sidewalks in here.
HANNA: Yes. You can because that's just as important as anything in the zoo. And I tell all the staff here, the zoo has to be clean because that represents everything we do.
You know what this is?
VAN SUSTEREN: No, what is this?
HANNA: This is a palm civet, and let's let him go over to you. Now, you just don't hold him, you just kind of pet him and stuff.
VAN SUSTEREN: He's a what?
HANNA: A palm civet. You remember the SARS disease in Canada?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
HANNA: I'm sorry. I hope you don't mind he's in your hair.
VAN SUSTEREN: No, I don't mind at all.
VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe he can fix it while he's there and take care of the gray.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does he do highlights?
HANNA: He should take this out of your hand without biting your fingers. That's good. Very good. This animal is the one that really — not this one — but caused the SARS disease in Asia. The reason is that is, Greta, is that this is a delicacy in China, in Asia.
VAN SUSTEREN: This guy is?
HANNA: Yes. They cost about $200 apiece at the table. And what happened was, when they were skinning the animal, someone got the blood in their cut or whatever it was, and then the SARS disease started, like, rampant. And of course, we lost people in Canada, as well as, I think, this country. So this one, though, has been with us seven years, so you don't have to worry.
VAN SUSTEREN: How old is he?
HANNA: This one's about 7-and-a-half years old.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you got him as a 6-month-old.
HANNA: Right. And it's in the mongoose family. It's an animal that's nocturnal, you can see from the eyes. And it has a prehensile tail. It's a very long tail that...
VAN SUSTEREN: What does that mean, prehensile tail?
HANNA: It means that he lives in the trees and he — see that long tail's around your neck there?
VAN SUSTEREN: He turned around to show it to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's very nice.
HANNA: And the animal's tail goes up in the trees, he hangs upside- down. He can grab birds and eggs and — he eats just about anything — fruits, meat, anything like that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And his name is Toddy?
VAN SUSTEREN: Who named him?
HANNA: Not me. I don't know. Probably Suzi Rapp, who works here. Who knows?
VAN SUSTEREN: Look at him. He is a handsome fellow.
HANNA: This is the real favorite of all the people that work in the promotions building. And he's a curious animal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have more food?
HANNA: Oh, yes. Here. I'll let you feed him because he bites me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, thanks!
HANNA: Oh, he likes that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I love the noise that he makes when he eats.
HANNA: Now, you'll notice the whiskers. You love animals, obviously. I've been talking to you. But the whiskers are very important to animals from the standpoint of darkness. A lot of animals have whiskers to hunt in total darkness when they feel themselves around on trees and that type of thing, especially this animal here. When the SARS disease happened this last year in Asia, they had to take and kill tens of thousands of these animals. And so we really don't know how many are left now in the wild.
VAN SUSTEREN: And how many do you have, just Toddy?
HANNA: Just Toddy, right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Come here, Toddy-boy!
HANNA: If you look underneath, well, you can't see it, but there's a scent gland under his front legs here, right under the armpits.
VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe we can show that off for you, Toddy.
HANNA: But they kill this animal for perfume in Asia, as well. The women — I don't know who wears that kind of perfume. I wouldn't. But they like it over there.
VAN SUSTEREN: This guy's obviously very friendly, but not...
HANNA: No. No. And the old saying is, A wild animal is like a loaded gun, it can go off at any time. Anything we're going to see here at the Columbus Zoo today are all wild animals, and they're all handled by professionals here at the Columbus Zoo, especially in the promotions building, where we are now. You noticed I don't even handle him because — I let you do that.
VAN SUSTEREN: If he was out in the wild, what's his favorite dinner?
HANNA: Well, right now, it'd be palm trees. And they're called a palm civet. They live in a palm tree, eat palm dates.
VAN SUSTEREN: But he likes that meat so well.
HANNA: Oh, I know, get a bird or an egg in the wild, that's like an hors d'oeuvre. That's like what they love. But just to be there in palm trees, they eat fruit, palm dates.
Come here! Come back over here, Toddy.
VAN SUSTEREN: How's his weight? Is this the normal weight?
HANNA: Oh, yes. Normal weight.
Come here. Let me put you over here.
Now, next thing I'm going to show you, we'll go right over here. Now, that's Suzi Rapp. This is Suzi Rapp here.
SUZI RAPP, COLUMBUS ZOO: Hi.
HANNA: And Suzi's been at the zoo for 26 years. She started when she was 5.
RAPP: It's true!
HANNA: This is Suzi. And I'll let you bring out our next animal. You want to go back there and see the dingoes?
VAN SUSTEREN: Let's see the dingoes.
HANNA: I call these dingbat ding-dong.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where are they from?
HANNA: Of course, I've got to get in here. If somebody can unlock this gate?
VAN SUSTEREN: Where are they from?
HANNA: Australia. We'll go right in here and see these.
VAN SUSTEREN: They're friendly, wagging their tails.
HANNA: Well, they're friendly now, but it's called the wild dog of Australia, so they may not be too friendly here in a few months. But I'll let you go in there and...
VAN SUSTEREN: How old are they?
HANNA: Come on in. Come on, come on, come on!
VAN SUSTEREN: How old are these guys?
HANNA: These are only about 5 months old.
Come here! Come on, come on, come on!
VAN SUSTEREN: Can they eat meat? These can, can't they? Or are they vegetarians?
HANNA: No, no! No, no, no, no.
VAN SUSTEREN: No, I was just teasing. Oh, God, I don't have any meat! Oh! They're going for my hands because they smell the food that we gave Toddy.
HANNA: Right. I'm going to try to get some more food for them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do they like fingers?
HANNA: No, no. The dingo is the wild dog, obviously, of Australia. We just got back from Australia, filming these things in the wild.
Come here, come here, come here, come here! Come on, come on!
And this animal here was brought by the Aborigines about — oh!
VAN SUSTEREN: Hey, sweetheart.
HANNA: I can't believe they're not ripping your face off. But these were bought by the Aborigines from Australia about 10,000 years ago. And the amazing thing about the dingo — come here, come here! — is that the dingo — they Aborigines went out in the wild and captured the babies from the mothers. And they'd go back and breast-feed — suckle, the women would — these animals because what this animal became was a hunter. In other words, if you didn't have a gun — obviously, no guns back then, but spears — this animal would go kill animals bring it back to the camp for them. And that's why they were such valuable animals to the Aborigines in Australia.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is this as big as it gets?
HANNA: No, no. This animal will get to be about 40 or 50 pounds. And the big problem in Australia now is that this animal is breeding with domestic dogs.
VAN SUSTEREN: Uh-oh!
HANNA: And it's causing a lot of problems.
VAN SUSTEREN: What are they getting out of that?
HANNA: They're getting...
VAN SUSTEREN: A wild animal or a domestic animal?
HANNA: A domesticated wild animal, which is very, very dangerous because it's going into neighborhoods and that kind of thing.
Oh, he loves you!
VAN SUSTEREN: Look at that.
HANNA: Oh, look at that!
VAN SUSTEREN: I think he smells the chicken salad sandwich I had.
HANNA: Stay there. Stay there.
This right here is a real special thing Sean has here. Everybody at the zoo raises these, Sean and all the staff here, Julie, Joe, everybody. All the people here raise these animals here. This is a clouded leopard.
VAN SUSTEREN: From where?
HANNA: This is from another zoo. Columbus Zoo raises a lot of animals for other zoos, and we get them back into a breeding situation. The clouded leopard, Greta, I'll let you hold him. Now, if he starts biting you, I'll take him back because he's got real sharp teeth. This animal here is only about — you have a good way with animals.
VAN SUSTEREN: He's sweet!
HANNA: This animal's only about 14 weeks, I think.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where's he from originally, or where's his family from?
HANNA: From Asia. It's called the clouded leopard. And the reason there's only about 300 of these left in the world, as well, is they were hunted for their coats. When that cat's full grown, it gets to about 50, 60 pounds. That coat you see there, Greta, is worth $60,000 on the black market.
VAN SUSTEREN: Wow. Wow.
HANNA: See, he sees these other cats over here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, he spotted that other cat.
HANNA: Yes. And this cat has very short legs for its size, and the reason is because it spends about 90 percent of its life in trees — 90 percent. No other cat in the world spends 90 percent of their life in trees.
VAN SUSTEREN: Look at the size of this tail!
HANNA: That's used for balance, right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Suzi, what's his name?
RAPP: His name's J.B.
HANNA: This is J.B. I know Suzi's not miked. This is J.B., the penguin. And they're called the jackass penguin, or black-footed penguin. Remember that, black-footed or jackass. And why is that? Because it brays like a donkey. This penguin brays like a donkey. The other thing that people don't realize, there are 17 species of penguin. And can you believe it, that all of them but five live in warm weather.
VAN SUSTEREN: Really? I didn't know that.
HANNA: Yes, like the Galapagos Islands, like off the coast of South America, off the coast of Africa, in Galapagos itself. All these animals are warm-weather penguins. And you have the Galapagos penguin. This is a black-footed penguin, and they're from South Africa. Now, the cold penguins — there are only five — it can go, like, 70 below zero. If this animal was left out at 40 below zero for any length of time, it would die.
VAN SUSTEREN: At 40 below zero?
HANNA: I'm sorry, 40 above zero.
VAN SUSTEREN: If it was 40 below, so would I! He's going after the microphone!
HANNA: Now, they also have more feathers per square inch than any bird in the world.
VAN SUSTEREN: He seems pretty dense. I mean, his feathers are awfully dense.
HANNA: What you're touching, again, is a bird with more feathers per square inch than any bird in the world.
VAN SUSTEREN: I've never seen so many feathers...
HANNA: Right, and it's very, very thick. And that way, even in the wild there, with feathers like that, they obviously can stay in real bad temperatures.
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