Ken Bridges Texas Frank Buck helped cultivate appreciation for wildlife, zoos

In the early 1900s, many city zoos did not have a significant number of animals to exhibit because of the difficulty in obtaining animals from the far corners of the globe. And fewer cities could establish zoos for that same reason. Frank Buck, an animal trapper and adventurer, helped bring countless specimens to zoos in the United States and inspired generations of Americans to appreciate adventure wildlife, all the while thrilling the public with stories of hiss. Because of Buck’s early work with animals, he helped educate the public about wildlife and increased the popularity of zoos across the nation.

Frank Buck was born in 1884 in Gainesville. He enjoyed collecting birds and other small animals throughout his childhood. His family soon moved to Dallas, where he attended the local schools. His most promising subject was geography, but he reported years later that the limited curriculum bored him, and he quite school in the seventh grade. After working a series of odd jobs, he eventually made his way to Chicago.

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