WARREN E. BUCK was born in Massachusetts on August 27, 1903 to Sallie and Julius L. Buck. By the time of the 1920 Census, the Buck family, which included older brother Roy L. Buck, had moved to Camden NJ, where their address was 1902 Stockton Park, in East Camden, just south of Federal Street. The elder Buck then operated a pile driver to support his family. Julius Buck was a naturalist of sorts, and in the 1920s opened a zoo of sorts in East Camden, at 1900 Federal Street. When the Census was taken in April of 1930, Julius Buck gave his occupation as "animal collector". Warren Buck's occupation in the 1930 Census was "helper". The family still lived in Stockton Park, the address however had been changed by the city to 1902 Mickle Street.
Occasionally confused with the famous animal hunter and circus exhibitor Frank Buck, of "Bring 'Em Back Alive" fame, Warren Buck became famous in his own right as an explorer and naturalist. By August of 1935 he had already made nine trips to Africa, collecting specimens of various plants and animals. He was still operating the zoo his father had opened in East Camden was on the grounds of the old Stockton Park.
In August of 1935, Warren Buck was granted a permit to operate an exhibit on a farm in Delaware Township (present-day Cherry Hill) NJ on Marlton Pike, near the site of what became Garden State Racetrack in the 1940s. He made at least one more trip to Africa, as evidenced by the postcard below, mailed from Sierra Leone.
Warren Buck remained in Delaware Township through at least 1959. By 1970 Warren Buck had moved the Black Horse Pike at Wilson Avenue in the Grenloch section of Gloucester Township NJ. His brother Roy remained in Camden, owning a home at 28 North 30th Street until his passing in 1974.
Warren Buck passed away in November of 1985.
Camden Courier-Post - October 21, 1931
Doesn't Yet Know World Series Is Finished
By ERNIE TALBOT
"Malta" is out on monkey business.
The "Molta" in question is a male member at Darwin's theory of what man sprung from, and this time he sprung from the collection of "pets" captured by Julius L. Buck in the African jungles. Until last June, "Malta" had spent a month in "the land of the free" at his new home 1900 Federal Street, where Buck took him to add to his menagerie.
Then "Molta," on one bright sunny morning in the month of brides, set out for the wilds. He landed in Delaware Township.
"Now, I can have peace and quiet away from those 'elephant mosquitoes' that fly day and night over my head," quoth he.
For months he hunted nuts, for playmates were scarce and there were no monkeyshines to do. A happy thought came. "Mr. Molta" grinned yesterday as he jumped an apple tree in Three Oaks, near Ellisburg.
Sitting on his newly acquired branch, "Molta" looked down to see a man. "Now I can cut up a little," said he, as his paws grabbed a couple of apples.
George Zerth, a farmer, was passing underneath the perch. "I will see if my aim is as good as it was when I left Africa last May." "Molta" let go.
"Strike one," said the monk. Another slow pitch from a new apple hit Zerth. He looked up to see the white teeth of the grinning pitcher and went into the "box" himself. The stone went wild and "Molta” started to run the bases (trees) and has again disappeared - probably awaiting his chance to pitch again.
Zerth reported to police, who started to piece together complaints received by them from citizens in various sections of Delaware township.
"Yes," they said, "that is the culprit that has been squeaking and keeping our good people from their rest at nights."
Residents of Ellisburg and other neighborhood towns have complained that "someone" was scratching on the woodwork of their windows, but could not account for an intruder.
Latest complaint lodged with the police, is that chickens have been killed, nothing remaining but bones. Search for "Molta" proceeds.
When I was a kid probably around the age of 7 or 8, I went to Warren's house with my parents and I remember his house being on State Street. If you were on State Street heading towards Federal Street his house was on the left just before the ramp that crossed over the railroad tracks. I checked Google maps and it appears that the house is no longer there.
Back in the 60's Warren would bring animals to a place in Pine Hill called Mike's Little Zoo which is where Trump's Pine Hill Golf Course is now, off of a road called Little Mill Rd. My father and Mike were childhood buddies and I actually called him uncle Mike. We would spend every Saturday at the zoo helping with the animals and the property upkeep. Mike had one arm and besides caring for the animals he also was a bartender at a bar called 5 Points Café in Pine Hill. So as a kid growing up around so many different animals was a time I will always cherish.
Attached is picture of Warren with one of his tiger's named Delhi which was "cross eyed" and another picture of yours truly, when I was about 10 years old, with Delhi when she was a cub.
Jersey's Animal 'Impressario' Holds the Wild Kingdom at Bay
By Charlotte Schwartz
GLENDORA - It takes a special breed of man to transform a lonely, dangerous career into a life of exciting adventure, and at the same time attain a world full of friends.
Such a man is Warren Buck, a soft-spoken, unassuming New Jerseyan. He's also one of America's most famous wild animal dealers.
Over the past 44 years, he's made 28 trips to Africa, Europe and Central America. He's trapped and imported hundreds of reptiles, birds, and mammals from three continents and brought back tons of curios and handmade carvings.
He's had his right hand mangled by a leopard who mistook it for a meal. He's been bitten by a python, spit in the eye by a cobra, and wrestled more tigers than most people have ever seen.
With Buck at the wheel, his one and a half ton GMC truck chews up 20,000 miles a year trans· porting animals to and from zoos in major cities In the United States. In his spare time he lectures on conservation, advises a number of Individuals seeking knowledge of the wild animal kingdom and quietly donates zoo animals for display at various benefit affairs.
Buck's name alone is worth more to zoo curators than the wordy guarantees of a dozen other suppliers. For, through a lifetime of buying, selling and trading, Buck has made his promise a bond.
Recently, Fred Ulmer, curator of mammals at the Philadelphia Zoo, commented "There are two kinds of wild-animal dealers. One type wants to make a bundle of money and uses shady business practices to do it. The other type offers buyers a fair deal and becomes famous. Warren Buck is one of the latter."
In 1930, for instance, he solo a baby gorilla from Cameroun, West Africa, to 'Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. At the time, it weighed 30 pounds. Twenty-one years later, the famous "Bushman" died, tipping the scales at 585 pounds. Today, the anthropoid" often referred to by curators as "Buck's gorilla," is on display at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.
And it was Buck who sold "Rani," the cheetah, to the famous nature writer, Dan Mannix. "Rani" ultimately became one of the stars of Mannix's book, "All Creatures Great and Small."
But the fame and integrity which Buck enjoys today didn't come overnight. It took years, but he had a good teacher. And he began his lessons when most boys think of things other than animals.
Born in Camden 61 years ago, he was the son of Julius and Sally Buck. His father traveled the country with a variety of circus acts. Then, in the golden days of vaudeville, he took his animals indoors and entertained under the lights. But it wasn't always easy to get animals for his acts, so he became a wild animal dealer.
It was in 1922 when Warren was 17 years old, that Julius took his son to Africa for the first time. The trip was made by boat and lasted half a year. But Warren enjoyed the adventure of capturing the animals and bringing them back to his own country.
In the United States once again, he helped his father find buyers for the animals. Then he learned how to conduct business, ship the cargo as quickly and safely as possible, and reinvest the money he'd helped to earn.
As the years and trips rolled by, Warren no longer thought of himself as a young man searching for a career and a place in the world. He was a full-ftledged wild animal dealer with a great amount of responsibility to his customers as well as his commodity.
Eventually he married and his wife, Lois, waited at their Marlton home while he covered the globe. His trips lasted anywhere from three to nine months depending on the area he visited and the number of animals he sought.
He learned many things those first years. Things like how to contend with government red tape, the laws of quarantine and how to face the inevitable loss of some of his animals. For a wild animal dealer, life is not an easy road nor necessarily a lucrative one.
A case in point was his recent importation of 45 yellow-bellied fruit pigeons from Ethiopia. After their arrival on U.S. soil, they were quarantined for 21 days. By the time they were released to him, 17 had died and Buck lost more than $300.
Then there were problems of safety.
Handling a 400-pound tornado-on-the-hoof isn't the easiest trick in the world; moving a young tiger from one place to another, for example, is best accomplished by two men, each holding a strong chain attached to the tiger's heavy dollar; and transporting animals that chew in wooden crates just doesn't work too well because they'll often chew themselves to freedom. The answer? Line the crates with tin.
"I've never carried a ·gun," says Buck. "My father taught me that anticipating an animal's behavior is far more sensible and much less expensive than allowing a situation to get out of hand in the first place."
Aside from the inconveniences, however, Buck learned an infinitely more important lesson. The theory of conservation and why we need all these animals anyway.
"Wildlife," he explains, "is necessary to preserve our own life. Every animal was put here for a purpose.
"Without birds, we'd be overrun with insects. Without predators, we'd be overrun with rodents. So you see, there must be a balance of nature in order for mankind to survive."
As a dedicated conservationist, Buck is playing an important role in keeping the balance of nature where it belongs. He realizes all too well that some American species are being threatened with extinction.
"Hoofed animals will eventually disappear if we don't provide methods of saving them now," he warns. "There are two major factors threatening them.
First, natural predators are destroying large numbers of them. Second, uneducated tribes in Africa kill them for food when hunger strikes.
"Education is going to be the key to maintaining all wild life throughout the world. And it's every man's responsibility to help teach the uneducated how to preserve our animal life."
The matter of conservation is so vital, relates Buck, that even individuals are becoming concerned. There's a rancher in Texas, for example, who recently presented 62 hoofed animals from Africa to the San Antonio Zoo.
When Buck delivered them, he learned that, under an agreement, the zoo will turn over to the donor all the offspring produced by these animals. The offspring will then be raised on the donor's ranch, thus perpetuating the species.
Buck supplies many other private collectors, too. There's a man in New Jersey who is presently developing plans for opening his own museum and animal farm. There are several buyers in Delaware, Maryland and other neighboring states who regularly order stock from him. In addition, there are various hobby and antique shows which sell and display his curios.
Undoubtedly municipal parks are his largest consumers. Zoos in St. Louis, Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, Youngstown, Ohio, and Washington, to name a few, regularly receive animals imported by Buck. He also relocates their excess livestock to zoos reporting shortages of specific species.
There'll be no scarcity of baboons this summer at the Philadelphia Zoo. For the past five years, Buck has supplied the zoo's Monkey Island with it's inhabitants. This year, he's preparing to populate it with 40 baboons from. Ethiopia. They'll moved during a special ceremony on May 1.
One of Buck's most interesting sales to the Philadelphia Zoo transpired in 1948. Fred Ulmer received a call one day from Buck stating that the Black African Rhinoceri which the zoo had ordered were here in the .country. "In box cars on a railroad siding in Haddonfield," explained Buck.
"Well," recalls Ulmer, "I never saw so much rhinoceri in one place in all my life. Warren had eight animals in two box cars in the middle of Haddonfield. I chose the two I wanted and left before a crowd gathered."
Those two eventually became "Kifaru," which is Swahili for rhino, and "Kenya," named for the country from which they came. Today they weigh in at 3,000 pounds each and Kenya has become famous for her billious attitude toward her mate. Needless to say, "Kifaru" and "Kenya" have never become parents.
Currently, Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange has contracted Buck for the second year in a row to perform a very unique service. From spring through fall, he will supply the "Animal of the Week," a special feature designed to educate visitors with detailed information about various species. He will rent the animal to the zoo for the program and replace it with a different one as each feature changes.
One of the complications arising out of the constant flow of wild animals within America's system of zoological parks is an occasional overlapping of time. For example, a zoo in the Midwest has too many cougars. Simultaneously, a curator from an Eastern zoo contacts Buck and asks him to look around for a pair of cougars.
Ordinarily, this would work out perfectly. But there's a hitch: The Eastern curator will not be able to house the new animals until construction on facilities at his zoo is completed which Gould mean a two month delay.
For obvious reasons, Buck can't keep the cougars at his current Glendora home. He must then find temporary quarters for them. This problem is solved when he trucks them to one of four locations designed specifically for this purpose. Private farms in Pine Hill, Milford and Woodstock, Del., and Baltimore offer temporary facilities for anything from a snake to a swan.
Another avenue of solution lies within the tiny corps of other dealers. There are only about ~O wild animal dealers in the
entire country. Of these, there are six major ones. Buck, along with one other
dealer, is the oldest. And ironically, he is
Thus, at times, dealers trade among themselves in order to expedite specific requests or relocate certain animals.
Though there is no organization devoted to the welfare of men in Buck's line, he belongs to two associations whose goal is the preservation of wild life. The American Institute of Park Executives and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums both record Buck as a member.
Despite the fact that Buck has only a few fellow-dealers with whom he can share his interests, zoologists across the nation count him among their valued friends. And when he travels, there is not a major city on three continents where he cannot find someone he knows, someone who admires him as a business associate and friend.
Though his career is approaching the half-century mark and he's been a widower since 1958, he confidently plans for the years to come. Air travel has replaced the slow ships of the early days and ,animals can now be purchased directly from African and South American dealers. Consequently, his next trip will most likely be devoted to purchasing animals and some ten tons of curios.
Because of his vast knowledge of the variety of animals. presently in U.S. zoos, he is constantly on the lookout for species which are not common in American zoos. He's on the trail now of one variety of mammal which Americans know little about, an animal rare in its native land and unheard of here.
Cloaked in utmost security, his queries
to foreign dealers will sooner or later turn up a specimen or two for sale. And
when they do, Buck will be there to claim them, once more bringing to his native shores
for preservation another creature which otherwise might someday vanish
from the wild kingdom.
Warren Buck and his animal show in East Camden are fondly remembered by John M. Connor, who saw them as a boy at the old Stockton Park.
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