It’s a summer day in northern England and a team of inspectors is touring a beleaguered zoo. In recent years, the attraction has seen a string of disasters. Indeed, numerous animals have met with a grisly end as has one keeper. Now, the moment of truth has come: exactly what 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 became affectionately known as “Dalton’s Doctor Doolittle.”
True to his nickname, Gill went on to open his own animal attraction. In 1994 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, it would grow to become home to some 1,500 animals.