Benjamin Mee Dartmoor Zoo subject of We Bought a Zoo

Benjamin Mee

Interview: How to Buy a Zoo with Benjamin Mee

Benjamin Mee is the Director of Dartmoor Zoological Park, which is a 33 acre zoological garden in southwest England. He was kind of a bad boy who turned his life around at 19 years old. His book, the movie, and the turning point in his life when he bought a zoo for his mom to live in is discussed.

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Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

Through his father, Benjamin learned “Nothing worthwhile is easy to achieve.”

His Journey

As a teenager, Benjamin had been expelled at three schools. He went to university in London and studied Pscyhology; in his third year, he specialized in Animal Intelligence, wrote a dissertation and did a Masters degree in Science Journalism.  This journey lasted seven years.

A Low Point

Benjamin was expelled because he was very naughty. He particularly hated school. It wasn’t the right place for him. They were shoving information down his throat, but he had to find it out for himself. Now he speaks to teenagers telling them, “You don’t have to be expelled to appreciate learning.”

Aha Moment

When Benjamin was 19, he was reading the Times in England and it was being splattered with rain on his lunch break. While reading this article about the dolphins, he thought some guy’s job is to sit by the Red sea with dolphins and he thought “that’s a cool job and that would be fun.” So Benjamin thought about how did that guy get that job and had to get the basic qualifications and worked out how to get into university.

Benjamin’s work now  

He doesn’t say he’s a  Zoo Director because that becomes a two-hour conversation. Ben thinks of himself as a writer and encapsulates the information he gets and puts it out to a wide audience. Post “We Bought a Zoo” it became difficult to keep it to just Dartmoor Zoo, because everyone asks what Matt Damon is like. There was a 2011 release of the movie, We Bought a Zoo, based on Benjamin’s book and Matt Damon was cast in it.

What’s exciting Benjamin now

At Darmoor Zoo, Ben works closely works with the universities, so shen researchers at universities want to look at Dartmoor’s animals, and always gives them a “Yes.” How the education side of the Zoo is working for Benjamin is exciting.

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Lightning Round

Book Benjamin Recommends:

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Helpful Habit:

Cleaning and tidying up.

Helpful Person:

Ben called out his teacher, Dorothy Humphries

Internet Resource:

Zoo Chat and Zoo Forum are two places that the Dartmoor Zoo keepers use

What’s Your Purpose:

To improve the world a little bit and to encourage people is what Ben thinks.

Where to follow Benjamin and Parting Words

Follow Dartmoor Zoo or follow Benjamin Mee

And “Do the right thing,” Benjamin said.

An awesome way to spread the word

Follow @PurposeRockstar

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Jackie Abrams

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  • rogerhicks

    A great interview with a really interesting guy.

    I only very recently heard about him and his story for the first time. Fascinated, I was looking for more information and found this illuminating interview. A pity that I can find no date for it, but I guess it is relatively recent.

    That he gives his “purpose in life” as wanting to improve the world a little, I found particularly interesting, because a lot of people, myself included, feel the same. But there has to be a flaw in this somewhere, because otherwise, the world would be a much better (more just, humane and sustainable) than it actually is.

    I’ve given a lot of thought to this and come up with the following explanation: The Perverted Darwinian Nature of Civilisation itself.

    • Roger, so glad you found the interview insightful. I would say it is harder to actually make the world a better place than just saying it.

      I totally agree that the world would be humane, just, and sustainable if we could all add something valuable. To be honest, the discussion on your blog was a bit over my head. I do enjoy that you had such spirited discussion on your site.

      Thanks for sharing.

      • rogerhicks

        Thank you, for responding, and taking a look at my blog.