Dartmoor zoo - The Story
After watching the BBC 2 television programme Ben’s Zoo shown at the end of 2007 I was inspired to create this website. Here is my view of the zoo story.
Dartmoor Wildlife Park had been closed to the public and was in a state of disrepair. Only a few dedicated zoo keepers remained to care for the animals and some of these keepers spent their own money to provide the desperately needed food and care for the animals in the park. In stepped Ben Mee and his family including his Mother and one brother, they managed to buy the failing zoo and on October 20 2006 moved in to the now neglected 12 bedroom mansion which is situated in the wildlife park. None of the family had any previous experience of running a zoo.
Ben and his family now had to turn the zoo around, stop the animals escaping (which first happened within 4 days of moving in) , improve conditions for the animals, get a zoo licence, arrange large loans and open to the public to start getting revenue to cover the escalating daily costs.
During the period from moving in until the re-opening in July 2007 Ben sadly lost his wife to a brain tumour, leaving him as a single parent to 2 young children, and with the dedicated support of his family and staff at the zoo managed to get the needed zoo licence.
The newly renamed Dartmoor Zoological Park containing over 200 animals is now open to the public again but still in need of major upgrades. This zoo needs all our support to keep it going and finally become the zoo of Ben’s dreams.
The zoo's own website is available at www.dartmoorzoo.co.uk or just click on the zoo banner at the top of the page.
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