This book is about the start up of the first Roam free park, which is different then running zoos. No one knew what would happen in any situation, or no one we could call for help. it is about five different animal parks, Florida, California, Georgia, Japan and Korea. In my twenty plus years of working with animals, funny , dangerous and sometimes sad things happened.
Inside these parks there were places that we called heads, they were thick with vegetation , and swamps. Lions would go over to the heads, we would track them down, this was different then tracking and hunting them to kill, we had to get a lot closer to the animals to tranquilize them.
For three years I was a regular ranger, after that a chief game warden, Sometimes I would have as many as five lions in a head at once, I was charged by many lions, three times I had to shoot them. I went inside these heads (306) times to tranquilize animals, this is also about things that happened with other African Animals. I feel this would be a very interesting book for people who love animals.
I feel I am qualifed to write this book, as I have had the opportunity to work with these beautiful creatures for over twenty four years, I kept a day to day diary of all the happenings, some situations very dangerous and some very funny, I think my story will bring the reader into all the situations, feeling like they were there tromping through the heads with swampy waters, high bushes and trees, where the water was sometimes knee deep, hunting down a lion to tranquilizeit to return it back to the section where it belonged. This book will give the reader all the information on wild African Animals they could want, the care and control of Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Giraffes and all hoof stock along with Pirmates. I was raised from a child in Palm Beach County Florida, where I lived with my parents, Henry and Elsie Gustafson they raised me with much love and care, along with a sister Donna and younger brother Raymond. I attended Greenacers Elementry school (yes I said it right," Greenacers" ) but unfortunly Arnold the pig wasn't there, after leaving grade school, I attended Lake Worth High, where I played football, baseball and chased the girls. After high school, when I was eighteen I joined the Army, I was in the 101st Airborne Division.After graduating I was sent to Korea where I joined the K-9 unit training attack dogs. After returning back to the States and to civilian life I went to work for my father as a journman painter, I got married and had a son Robert, I divorced his mother when he was nine months old . I worked with my father for a few years, then I went to work for Palm Beach County on their bridge crew, where I worked for two years, I then got remaried to my wife now , Nonie and have two more sons, Joseph and Erik, after leaving the bridge crew, one day I found an ad for a animal trainer to help train the black bear for the movie studio Ivan Tors, they were filming a movie called "Gentle Ben" among others, I was hired to be a trainer, after the production of the movie was over the company left Palm Beach, so of course that left me with no job. I looked in the paper for a couple of weeks, then finding an ad for a animal man for the first roam free animal park in the United States, so out the door I went . I was hired by Richard Chipperfield of England, I was the first American to be hired, you will read that experience in my book. I worked for Lion Country in Palm Beach Florida, Georgia and California, then on to Japan and Korea, this book will take you into a lot of situations with all the African wild animals, along with all the excitement of being there. I now am living in a small town called Marianna in the Florida Panhandle, we live on eight acers of beautiful woods with a creek and two ponds, where I hunt on my own property, I grow a garden, raise chickens and enjoy the great outdoors with my wife and dog DeeDee. I also love to fish in my bass boat on Lake Seminole, my wife and I do wood arts and crafts, attending alot of craft shows,I set back and reminish about my friends that have passed away, Charles Durr and Bill York, who was like a brothers to me, I feel bad that they won't get to read about our experiences in my book, but then again they lived it with me so they sure didn't miss anything.
Wonderful look into the inside workings of starting up a roam free animal park. For anyone who truly loves animals to be able to see how much work is involved in starting a park and treating the animals as they should be treated with as much love as possible. How their living conditions were the best and how concerned the author was that they were treated with the utmost respect and never hurt in any way unless it was the very last straw. People who couldn't treat the animals with respect were no longer needed. If you happen to take a ride through one of these parks today; think of this author and what he was a big part of for everyone's enjoyment and safety and the love for these animals.