Here you can see the latest news on what Benjamin has been up to.
DARTMOOR ZOO RECIEVES SOME INTERNATIONAL GUESTS FOR A SNOOZE AT THE ZOO!!
16th-17th April 2014
Over Easter, 30 students from Hong Kong came over and stayed at the zoo in these fantastic Unidomes. You can see more about these brilliant structures by visiting the Unidome website: here
The students experienced a big cat feed and a falconry display before learning about enrichment creation for Monkeys, Coatis and Meerkats. They then gave enrighment to the animals and saw it in action before setting up camp. Then after dinner and a dusk torchlight trail around the zoo, they enjoyed a very well deserved hot chocolate with marshmallows! Keep your eyes peeled as these domes will be permanent fixtures at the zoo soon so you too can come and stay!
BENJAMIN VISITS MICHIGAN CITY
11th-14th April 2014
Benjamin flew out to Chicago to speak at a fundraiser for Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City.
Washington Park Zoo was badly in need of funds and Benjamin agreed to go out and help them and speak about the importance of zoos and the different aspects involved in running it. He was really struck by the similarities between Washington Park Zoo and Dartmoor Zoological Park.
Their fundraiser was held in the Blue Chip Casino, and you can see a photo of Benjamin with some of the staff of the zoo.
He was keen as part of the talk to stress the importance of zoos as a rehabilitation method or a way for people to be social. He recalled a story told by a local zookeeper when he visited the zoo about a man who visits every day to feed the parakeets. He believes that the zoo is probably a mechanism that he uses, and that the animals of a zoo can affect many lives of those who visit and develop positive significance for them. For this man the visits became a significant, positive part of his life and for him and others the visits may be good for coping and actually healing experiences.
He loved the zoo and especially enjoyed meeting some of it's residents, including Billie-Jean (right), who is obviously very taken with him!
Good luck to Washington Park Zoo with their fundraising!
BENJAMIN VISITS HOLLAND
7th-8th April 2014
On 7th and 8th April Benjamin was invited to Holland to do a couple of talks at the grand opening of Groenhorst Barneveld, a state of the art international college which focuses on Animal Care Courses.
His presentation and the events all centred on the theme "Passion and Professionalism". Attendees ranged from animal care professionals, to business owners through to students. The school has many animals that it looks after as part of the numerous courses they run there. Below is a picture of Benjamin with Animal Business students Marlin and Tim.
Benjamin thoroughly enjoyed his trip, and had the chance to go and visit Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam where he got to see an elephant have a pedicure! Elephants are of huge interest to Benjamin as part of his research into humour in animals as they are so intelligent and playful so he visits them whenever he can.
BENJAMIN DONS A TOP HAT FOR WEAR A HAT DAY!
28th March 2014
As a proud Ambassador for Brain Tumour Research, Benjamin showed his support by having his picture taken wearing a bright pink top hat for the charity's fifth Wear A Hat Day on 28th March. As you can see, getting the Meerkats in the picture involved much bribery in the form of tasty meal worms, plus a quick finger on the shutter by Hugh from Brain Tumour Research!
#WearAHatDay is the UK’s largest and most famous national brain tumour awareness and fundraising campaign, supporting a deadly serious issue: Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40. The research is woefully underfunded, with less than 1% of the national government spending on cancer research being channelled towards brain tumours.
You can show your support too by taking a selfie of you in a hat and sending it to #WearAHatDay on Twitter or Brain Tumour Research on Facebook. If you would like to donate you can text WEAR12 to give £3 to 70070.
BENJAMIN JOINS THE BIAZA COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE 27th March 2014
Due to his background and media and broadcast experience, Benjamin has now been asked to be on the BIAZA Communications and Development Committee (C&DC). C&DC advises the BIAZA office with regards to marketing and PR, oversees any promotional activity, campaigns and communication on the work of members to the community at large. He is uniquely placed to be on this committee as he has the rare insight of an insider, being a Zoo Director himself and being knowledgeable about regulation, and also as an outsider looking in, thanks to his journalistic experience.
Benjamin is looking forward to beginning his time of the committee, and will work towards the aim of making zoos less mysterious and more accessible to the public, and of educating and engaging with the 24 million people who visit UK zoos every year. He would also like to work with the committee towards being more responsive to external events and actively engaging in key debates. This will also involve defending zoos against their unthinking critics.
He is keen to ensure that the valuable, and vital, work in conservation and research that zoos are involved in to help increase numbers of endangered animals and protect the habitats of the wild is highlighted and celebrated.
DARTMOOR ZOO SAYS GOODBYE TO ONE OF ITS RESIDENTS
23rd March 2014
On Sunday Dartmoor Zoo said an emotional goodbye to one of it's residents, Luta the Brazilian tapir. He was born at the zoo nearly 18 months ago, to proud parents Roger and Fortuana. Unfortunately he was born breech which meant that he had problems with his back legs, and after trying to suckle he failed and so had to be hand reared. After a difficult start this little fighter was named Lutador, which literally means "fighter". He's quite the character and much loved by the zoo staff and visitors. Below is a picture of him when he was little, charming Stefanie Powers on her visit to the zoo.
As he was male, the zoo always knew they'd have to say goodbye, and began searching for a home to ensure that he could be placed before reaching sexual maturity.
The great news is that he was offered a home at Amazona Zoo which specialises in South American animals. There is a girlfriend waiting for him, and hopefully Luta will grow up to have little tapirs of his own. It was a sad day for all to him go, and Benjamin made sure to have quite a few goodbye hugs, but everyone is happy at the prospect of his wonderful new life at a great new home.
BENJAMIN DOES A TALK ENTITLED "PROJECTING POSITIVITY" FOR THE ROTARY CLUB "WE CAN" THEMED CONFERENCE
22nd March 2014
Benjamin took a trip to Torquay for the Rotary Club conference, and spoke to an audience of 1000 people to inspire them as they go about their valuable work.
This year their theme focussed on achievement – “We Can”. They chose people for the event who exemplifyed the conference focus, and the theme for the Rotary year 2013-2014 - “Engage Rotary, Change Lives”. Important for them was the ways in which they as Rotarians could achieve Service above Self.
Speaking alongside Richard Burbedge, Naomi Riches MBE, and Lady
Carnavon, Benjamin thoroughly enjoyed the talk and meeting the members afterwards at a book signing of We Bought A Zoo.
Many Rotarians also paid a visit to the Zoo afterwards to see the story come to life.