|Everglades Wildlife Barons: The Legendary Piper Brothers And Their Wonder Gardens by Charles LeBuff
Bill and Lester Piper were no strangers to living on the edge in dangerous times, doing dangerous things, and risking their lives on a daily basis. They were financially successful bootleggers during the Great Depression and after Prohibition was repealed they put the Detroit River behind them and settled in Bonita Springs, Florida. In the late 1930s they opened the Bonita Springs Reptile Gardens that evolved into the Everglades Wonder Gardens, which by the 1950s became Florida’s premier wildlife attraction. The Piper brothers owned and exhibited the world’s largest collection of threatened American crocodiles, and also pioneered captive propagation of the endangered Florida panther. Their Wonder Gardens educated tens of thousands of Americans in the early days of environmental education and ecotourism. This book is a window into the dangers, intrigue and constant struggle for existence in the depths of the impenetrable and fascinating Everglades. The Piper brothers were undeniably the Wildlife Barons of the Everglades.