Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

Trapper Nelson is still remembered in South Florida. He became famous thanks to the experimental zoo, and most of all-because of his quirks and antics. An extraordinary nature lover founded a nature park and surprised its visitors with tricks, fearlessly saddling crocodiles and taming wild animals. Unfortunately, the success and world fame did not help the newly-born Tarzan of the 20th century to avoid a sad fate – he died a lonely hermit before he reached the age of 60. Read the life story of one of the most famous American hunters further in our material.

Vincent Natulkievich was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1909 to a Polish family. His parents didn't speak English. Curious and in love with nature, the young man has always dreamed of escaping from the boring life of a small town.

When he grew up, he went to travel. Changing from train to train, I traveled around the country. Eventually, he stopped in Florida when he was detained, suspected of smuggling weapons on the US-Mexico border. But it seems that the Mexican police could not hold the two-meter-tall guy weighing 110 kg, and Vincent broke free. Friends of Vincent said that he ate 18 eggs for breakfast.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

Natulkievich changed his name to Trapper Nelson ("Trapper" Nelson) and settled in Jupiter Island in Florida. In the 1920s, this resort town was a center of luxury and glamorous entertainment, but for a native of New Jersey, this place became ideal for exploring the world of wildlife. Nelson purchased a 325-hectare plot in a swampy area near the Loxahatchee River. The man borrowed money for the land from his sister.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

The hermit began to hunt animals and sell fur. Things were going quite well. Nelson was compared to Tarzan, the story of which was then at the peak of popularity. When the Great Depression hit, he set aside part of the land for a zoo, where people could touch the wild nature. The experimental zoo and the jungle park became a real sensation, but their popularity was also promoted by the charisma of the owner. He charmed visitors with his charm, attractive appearance and infected them with enthusiasm in his love for nature.

Trapper's zoo was visited by famous and rich contemporaries, including the Kennedy family. This place has become a symbol of unshakable life in those harsh times. In the 20th century, Nelson looked like a man from the past, and this gave his personality even more appeal. Visitors to the zoo could even buy a baby crocodile in a souvenir shop, and the owner himself amazed the guests by eating turtles and drinking the blood of animals. The man claimed that this is the healthiest food.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

Nelson took care of injured animals, thanks to which he gained a reputation as a guardian. But this was only partly true, because he rarely cleaned their enclosures and caught all the alligators he met on the way to surprise zoo visitors. Despite the antics that others were delighted with, Trapper did not know how to establish communication, especially with women. One day he threw himself into the river, caught a crocodile and saddled it to impress a girl he liked.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

When the Second World War began, Nelson was called to the front, despite the fact that he married, trying to avoid military service. In the army, the freedom-loving Tarzan injured a leg muscle, and he was transferred to a base near his possessions. By that time, Trapper's wife had found a lover. The nature lover who was deceived by his wife never married again.

In the late 1940s, Trapper became a real world celebrity. It was talked about not only in the United States, but also in Europe. The American was called "The Wild Man from Loxahachie", and he himself liked to surprise the media with bold tricks. One day, Nelson agreed to take part in a boxing match. Before that, he fought with alligators in his zoo, but now his opponent had to be a man. As a result, the strong man easily knocked Tarzan out with a blow to the nose.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

In the 1950s, the number of people in Florida was rapidly increasing, the state began to develop. Trapper Nelson's popularity declined, and his land became a tasty morsel for businessmen opening nightclubs in Jupiter Island. They said that the owner of the zoo purchased the plot illegally. There were skirmishes between Tarzan and his neighbors, which led to arson and damage to each other.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

The conflicts drew the attention of health and safety inspectors to Nelson. After checking, they were dissatisfied with the conditions of keeping animals in his zoo. Rare cleaning, poor hygiene and lack of running water led to the fact that the authorities closed the Trapper Zoo. The former success and fame are a thing of the past.

Until the end of the 1950s, he became a hermit, communicating with neighbors and friends only by correspondence. If someone tried to visit him, Nelson immediately chased away the uninvited guest, threatening him with a gun. After Trapper switched from a natural diet to a regular diet, he fell ill. The man thought that he had colon cancer, but doctors discovered prostate cancer.

Loneliness in the jungle: world fame and the sad ending of Trapper Nelson – the American Tarzan of the 20th century

After the closure of the zoo and the demands of his ex-wife to give her part of the land, Nelson disappeared from the public eye. In July 1968, he was found dead with a gunshot wound in his stomach. Trapper's body lay for about a week before it was discovered. It was rumored that dissatisfied neighbors and his sworn brother, who was released from prison at that time, had a hand in Tarzan's death. Nevertheless, the investigation recognized Nelson's death as a suicide.

So ended the life of one of the most famous American hunters of the 20th century. It turned out to be easier for him to engage in fights with crocodiles than to fight with those who want to encroach on his land.

In our time, there are also hermits. A Japanese man who lived on the island all alone for 30 years was returned to civilization, but he did not like it.

Keywords: Earth | Zoo | Death | Nature | North America | Celebrities | World | Tricks | Florida | Life | Hunting | Wildlife | Crocodiles | Fame | Jungle | Hunter | Visitors | Tarzan | Hermit | Wild animals | Owner | Popularity | Unusual people

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