It’s a summer day in northern England, and a team of inspectors are touring a beleaguered zoo. In recent years, the attraction has seen a string of disasters. Indeed, numerous animals there have met with a grisly end, as has one keeper. Now, though, the moment of truth has come: what exactly has been happening at South Lakes Safari Zoo?
Owner David Gill had always loved animals. In fact, as a child he became well known for his menagerie of goats, raccoons and wallabies. In Barrow-in-Furness, a town in Cumbria in North West England, he therefore became affectionately known as “Dalton’s Doctor Doolittle.”
True to his nickname, Gill went on to open his own animal attraction. In 1994, then, he was awarded a license and opened South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, a small town just a few miles from where he grew up. Over the next 22 years, moreover, the zoo would grow to become home to some 1,500 animals.