Bring 'Em Back Alive

November 21, 2008

The motto big game hunter Frank Buck lived by: “Bring ‘Em Back Alive.” Touring the world twelve times, the Texas native, was constantly on the hunt for an adventure of a lifetime.

Buck’s interest in exotic creatures began when he returned home from his first trip out of the country, bringing back with him wild birds. After selling the wild birds and making a hefty profit, Buck realized how he wanted to spend his future. Buck then continued to travel the globe and successfully captured other exotic animals, such as lions, tigers, and monkeys, and sold them in the U.S.

The opening of his own zoo in Massapequa, New York, called “Jungle Camp,” increased Buck’s celebrity. The main attraction at the camp was “Monkey Mountain”; a 70 foot tall exhibit featuring 500 rhesus monkeys! In 1934, Buck took the camp to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and then to the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

In between and during Buck’s traveling he dialoged about his wild adventures in his best selling book Bring ‘Em Back Alive, and acted and directed in jungle adventure films. The films included Wild Cargo, Jungle Cavalade, Jacare, and the Abbott and Costello film, Africa Screams.

Throughout his lifetime it is estimated that Frank Buck brought back 49 elephants, 60 tigers, 9 pigmy water buffalos, 2 giraffes, 40 kangaroos and wallabies, 90 pythons, over 100,000 wild birds and more than 500 other different species! His legacy still remains in Gainesville, Texas, as the local zoo changed their name in 1954 to the Frank Buck Zoo in order to honor the pioneer of modern era zoos.

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