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Benjamin Mee

Inspiration for the Hollywood film ‘We bought a Zoo’

Benjamin’s emotive story is one of courage, resilience and enterprise. When he and his family learned that Dartmoor Zoo would be closed down if a buyer couldn’t be found, he fought against all the odds and bought it. He then found himself with an uphill battle, juggling the complexities of managing a zoo and getting it ready for opening while facing the consequences of his wife’s terminal illness and caring for two young children.


Benjamin has unwavering passion for transforming lives through knowledge, collaboration and partnership, and encouraging sustainability through shared practice in the context of conservation. Despite a turbulent relationship with the education system in his youth, Benjamin went on to study Psychology at UCL and completed an MSc in Science Journalism at Imperial College.


He became a contributing editor to Men’s Health and a Guardian columnist before he moved to Southern France and began writing a book on the Evolution of Humour in Man and Animals. He has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate in science from Plymouth University and has had a lifelong interest in the field of animal intelligence.

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