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Meet the Senior Management Team & Trustees

Our board of trustees act as a body of charity trustees, and as directors for the purposes of company law.

They determine the strategic direction and policies of DZS and have general control and responsibility for the management and administration of DZS.

The key responsibilities of the Trustees

With other Trustees to hold the Society “in Trust” for current and future beneficiaries by:

  • ensuring that the Society has a clear mission and strategic direction and is focused on achieving these.
  • being responsible for the performance of the Society and for its “corporate” behaviour.
  • ensuring that the Society complies with all legal and regulatory requirements.
  • acting as guardians of the Society’s assets, both tangible and intangible, taking all due care over their security, deployment, and proper application; and
  • ensuring that the Society’s governance is of the highest possible standard.

The Senior Management Team

Alyn Price – Director of Commercial Operations

Alyn started out his profession studying Hospitality & Catering in his hometown of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. After finishing college, he travelled as a young chef working in Ski resorts during the Winter months and spending his Summer months by the sea in Cornwall. He settled in Plymouth continuing in hospitality industry but changing his career focus to restaurant management. Gaining a hospitality management qualification whilst running a country pub.

With a strong passion for local, seasonal, and ethical produce he joined the Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall ‘River Cottage’ restaurant chain as part of the management team. Alyn joined the Dartmoor Zoo team in 2017 and is now our Director of Commercial Operations, bringing along his ethically focused sourcing and management of the department.  

Clare Lee – Head of Compliance and Resources

Dr Clare Lee is our Head of Compliance and Resources. She joined Dartmoor Zoological Society at the end of 2017. Previously she worked at the Met Office for 14 years, where she became Strategic Head of a scientific research department, developing her leadership, staff management, project management, grant writing and strategic thinking skills. Prior to that she worked at Universities as a Researcher, following the completion of her PhD in Atmospheric Science.

Clare has always loved animals and is excited to work at Dartmoor Zoological Society to help make a difference in wildlife conservation, education and research. 

Joanna Clark - Head of Education and Research

Jo joined Dartmoor Zoological Society in July 2023 continuing her career of working in zoos and conservation charities. She completed a research placement year as part of her Zoology degree which set her on the Zoo path and both Keeper and Education Officer jobs followed after graduation. Her passion lies in educating others about the natural world. She is a member of the BIAZA Conservation Education Committee and also has a masters degree in Anthrozoology. She joined Dartmoor Zoo after 8 years working in education roles at nearby Paignton Zoo.

Jo is proud to be a member of the Dartmoor Zoo team after admiring the education and research work completed by the zoo for many years. She is excited to be able to continue this and look at ways to make the zoo an accessible learning space for all.

Duncan Wadey - Head of Finance

Joining the team in February 2024, Duncan has over thirty years experience in accounting and business planning. Originally qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in public practice, he subsequently worked in industry, with businesses as diverse as the motor trade, metal alloy trading and milk bottle top and toothpaste production. For the last ten years he has worked in higher education, as a business manager and Head of Finance.

Outside work, Duncan enjoys weekend escapes in his campervan, with his wife and faithful Labrador, heading out for long walks over moorland or coast.  Living in and loving the beautiful surroundings of South Devon, Duncan has always had an interest in, and awareness of the challenges for our natural world and is relishing the opportunity to join the team at Dartmoor Zoological Society.

David Gibson - CEO

Having previously worked as the Assistant Chief Executive at The Deep, Executive Director of Fota Wildlife Park and Managing Director of National Marine Aquarium, David’s wealth of knowledge, experience and love of animals extends throughout his life and his career began with a degree in Zoology from The University of Glasgow.

“I am delighted and excited to take over the reins at Dartmoor Zoo. I don’t doubt that there will be many challenges ahead, but I have every confidence that with the support of the trustees and staff of the charity we can help this fantastic Zoo achieve its full potential.”

The Trustees

Benjamin Mee - President and Trustee

Benjamin Mee joined the board when he donated Dartmoor Zoo to the charity in 2015. Benjamin’s family bought the zoo in 2006 after it had closed down, re-opening it eight months later in order to save the animals, jobs and the educational, conservational and research opportunities that a modern zoo can offer. The task of actually turning it into a modern zoo took a huge leap forward with the transition to charitable status.

Benjamin is a science journalist and writer whose book We Bought a Zoo was made into the Hollywood film of the same name, and is also passionate about education, rehabilitation through nature, Animal Assisted Therapies and research into animal cognition.

Benjamin James – Trustee Chairperson

Benjamin joined the board in 2017 and became chairperson in 2018. He also chairs the Finance and Ethics Committees.  

Benjamin is a solicitor specializing in advising charities, individuals and companies on commercial, ethical, intellectual property and governance matters. He is currently a partner in a London law firm and holds a compliance role. He is the chairperson of an adoption charity and sits on the boards of various other charities and companies.  

He has a long commitment to conservation generally and animals in particular. Benjamin travels as much as possible and has had the opportunity to visit the natural habitats of many of the animals housed at Dartmoor Zoo and wishes to see as many of these habitats replicated at Dartmoor Zoo as possible.  

James Ross

James joined the board in 2017. He also sits on the Finance Committee.  

James is a management consultant now mainly working for social landlords in the UK developing strategy and business planning. His previous roles have taken him around the world and have covered a range of sectors including financial services and manufacturing. 

As a keen traveller, James has been fortunate to see many of the world’s endangered species in their natural habitats.  He is committed to the vital role that zoos will play in the future preservation of many of these extraordinary creatures.  

He lives in London with his wife and two big-cat loving daughters. 

Simon Almond

Simon is the founder and Managing Director of Devon Contract Waste (DCW), the South West’s leading independent waste management and recycling company and has been a Trustee of Dartmoor Zoo since 2014.  

Simon established DCW in 1989 since when he has built the family run business to its current day success with a turnover of £12.7m, employing 122 staff and undertaking 16,000 weekly commercial collections across three counties, using 55 state-of-the-art vehicles.   

Simon brings to the DZP board, a wealth of commercial expertise gained over 30 years building and running DCW.  He is passionate about protecting the environment in which we live and takes a keen interest in the protection of vital habitats and endangered wildlife.

Douglas Richardson

As an independent zoological consultant since November 2018, Douglas Richardson operates on a global basis, advising on zoological and conservation projects in a number of countries.

Based on his more than 40 years of experience working in the zoo and conservation community on four continents, having held senior positions within zoological collections including the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Bioparco Rome, Douglas’ skills set includes new enclosure design, repurposing existing facilities, review of proposed designs and master plans, safety and security reviews, husbandry training and refinement, ethical animal acquisition and disposition, and enhancing conservation output.