Benjamin Mee

The man behind bestselling book and Hollywood film "We Bought A Zoo".

Benjamin Mee is the Director of Dartmoor Zoo and the author of 'We Bought A Zoo', the bestselling book that inspired the Hollywood movie of the same name starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. 

In 2006, the Mee family came across Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a dilapidated zoo with a poor reputation and in massive financial difficulty. Rather than running a mile, the family were struck by the fact that if a purchaser couldn't be found, the vast majority of the animals would have been destroyed. They forged forwards, bought the zoo, saved the animals, and fought to get the zoo ready to re-open which it finally did in July 2007 under the new name of Dartmoor Zoological Park.

It was a difficult time, made much harder by the return of his wife Katherine's brain tumour, which sadly this time was terminal, and looking after his two young children. His story was documented within 'We Bought A Zoo', and he now conducts talks to inspire people to never give up, no matter what life throws at you. You can find out more about Benjamin, his story, and his motivational talks by visiting his website

Benjamin's talks are eloquent, engaging, and human, and, if required can form the basis of a unique team-building day or conference held here at the zoo which really brings the story to life. Contact the events team for more information on: or for a motivational talk at your event, wherever it is: 


The Dartmoor Zoo story is still ongoing, and the latest chapter is, that after a crowdfund which took place at the end of 2014, the zoo has completed the conversion into a charity. This gives the zoo security for the future, and enables Benjamin's dream of turning the zoo into a centre of excellence for research, conservation, and education to come one step closer. The zoo is well on the way with incredible education and research departments, and ties with many universities, including Plymouth University.

The incredibly kind and generous donations we receive are fantastic in helping us to keep up the amazing job our staff do to give the animals in the zoo the best possible food, enrichment and lifestyle they deserve.

Be Part of the Ongoing Story

You can be part of the ongoing story of Dartmoor Zoo by joining our growing body of enthusiastic supporters. There are many ways you can contribute simply by taking part in what we do, whether that be enjoying one of our Experience Days, adopting an animal, hosting your next family celebration at the zoo or simply by visiting.

You can also donate on line - it's safe and secure and your support is very much appreciated. This short video will show what your support helps to make happen.