Benjamin Mee is Director of Dartmoor Zoological Park and the man behind the story ‘We bought a Zoo’. The US blockbuster movie, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson was released in the UK at the end of March 2012.
With no experience of running a zoo, Ben and his extended family decided to purchase the dilapidated and rapidly declining Dartmoor Zoo in 2006 with just 10 days’ running costs in the bank to see them through. Tragically, Ben’s wife Katherine was suffering from a terminal brain tumour and passed away the following Easter making the possibility of opening the zoo seem even less likely. However, amazingly the zoo did open for the summer of 2007 and the BBC made a four-part documentary of their adventure into the unknown, called ‘Ben’s Zoo’. Having recently achieved charity status, the zoo’s future is secure and Ben is rapidly creating the hub of conservation, research and education that he always knew it could be.
His book ‘We Bought A Zoo’ is an international bestseller, which has been printed in 23 countries and influenced the US blockbuster movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. Aside from being highly entertaining and amusing, Ben’s inspirational story is one of triumph over tragedy and the passion and perseverance it takes to succeed. He reminds us of the importance of striving to meet our goals – even in the face of adversity.