WHERE WILL THESE ANIMALS GO? |Ed Malone|cfz@eclipse.co.uk|04/12/06 at 15:56:52|obadiah|xx|0||The future of nearly 1,000 animals at a wildlife park on the outskirts of Plymouth was still in the balance today despite an 11th-hour bid by a city entrepreneur to save their home.

Businessman Danny Bamping last night revealed he was one of four people preparing bids to buy the threatened Dartmoor Wildlife Park at Sparkwell.

Big cat fanatic Mr Bamping - who in his spare time hunts the legendary Beasts of Bodmin Moor and Exmoor - vowed to make every effort to obtain 1million to save the animals and buy the park.

But other developers in the running may decide not to run it as a wildlife park, putting the fate of the animals in doubt.

Mr Daw has given potential buyers an April 23 deadline. Should no deal be signed, he would still have a three-to-four-month period of grace to find his animals a new home.

Should no home be found after this period, there is the threat the animals may have to be put down.

But today Mr Daw told the Herald that if the sale proposals fell through, he was confident of finding homes for the park's 800-plus birds and animals.

He said: "If the worst came to the worst, I'm completely confident I'd be able to find them places with zoos or parks either in Britain, or perhaps in Europe.

"I have a few concerns about some of our older animals here - one of the tigers and a lion - because nobody may want them because of their age, but if it's humanly possible, I want this place to be kept as a wildlife park.

"I don't see why any animal which has provided me with a living should be let down."

Mr Daw admitted he had considered offers from developers for the 34-acre site, which has been a wildlife park since 1968.

But he said: "If it came to it, I would take a lower offer if the new owners would guarantee that the site would remain a park."

He added: "I'm 77 and I've had enough and want to retire.

"I've been trying to sell the park since last year and I've been let down at the last moment because we've had offers and they couldn't find the money.

"It's getting a bit depressing, and I just want it to be over."

Mr Bamping, founder of the Big Cat Society, which tracks sightings of the so-called Beasts of Bodmin Moor and Exmoor, said he was making "significant progress" in raising the sale price.

He said: "I think I can raise the purchase money, but I think we'd be looking at raising a total of 3million to take the park forward and put in some improvements.

"I want to save the animals and everything that Ellis has put into the park over the past 35 years.

"I'd like to think we could focus on the bigger cats and perhaps make the park the big cat centre of Europe," he said.

"If the park went, it would have a big impact on the area. It's a great asset to the local community and I want it to stay as a wildlife park."

Mr Daw said another Plymouth-based businessman had also shown interest in buying the park, as had two other separate concerns in London, although he declined to identify them.

|| Re: WHERE WILL THESE ANIMALS GO? |Plymouthcrypto|Cmoiser@aol.com|04/13/06 at 13:56:27|plymouthcrypto|xx|0||As we are all aware Mr Bamping, as well as being a successful toy importer, is a very trustworthy individual with an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of captive animal management, and big cat biology in particular. As he has not held a zoo licence previously he will need all the help that he can get to persuade South Hams district council to grant him a licence or transfer it to him.

If like me you would like to see Dartmoor Wildlife continue, with improvements, then you might like to write to South Hams council and tell them what you think of Danny. They can be contacted at licensing@southhams.gov.uk or Licensing section, South Hams District Council, Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes, TQ9 5NE.

I believe that if he gets the place there will be a splendid range of cuddly toys avalable in the shop.|| Re: WHERE WILL THESE ANIMALS GO? |Min_Bannister|alison.ayres@gmail.com|04/18/06 at 12:42:28|min_bannister|xx|0||LOL! One can only reply "meeoow"  :D|| Re: WHERE WILL THESE ANIMALS GO? |Ed Malone|cfz@eclipse.co.uk|06/09/06 at 10:31:58|obadiah|xx|0||WILDLIFE PARK MAN'S WARNING

11:50 - 06 June 2006

The owner of Dartmoor Wildlife Park has warned that he could be forced to sell up to new owners who would turn the site into a nursing home.

Ellis Daw, 77, said if a deal is not signed with other interested parties this week he will have to negotiate with an earlier bidder who plans to convert the house into a nursing home.

Mr Daw would prefer to sell the 34-acre park at Sparkwell to someone who intends to keep it going as a wildlife attraction, and has been busy interviewing potential buyers for several months now.

He is meeting two more businessmen this week, both of whom propose to keep the site as an animal park.

Mr Daw told the Herald: "If a deal doesn't happen by the end of this week, I'm afraid it will go as a nursing home.

"I've already got an offer from someone who wants to turn the house into a nursing home. The offer has been in the background for some time, and I've tried to find a buyer who will keep it going as a wildlife park, but time's running out.

"I can't go on - it costs 10,000 to 12,000 a week to feed all the animals and pay the staff, so I'm losing money.

"The problem is that every time someone makes an offer, they then go off to the bank to borrow money and find out they can't borrow the full amount and the deal falls through."

Mr Daw said homes had been found at zoos and parks across Europe for all the 800-plus birds and animals at the park, if needed, but added that he would be upset if the park was no longer run as a wildlife attraction.

The imminent sale will end Mr Daw's near-40-year reign at the Sparkwell tourist attraction. In April he returned his zoo licence to South Hams District Council.

The park is up for sale for 1million, but it is estimated at least twice that much may be needed to modernise the business. It is being sold because Mr Daw wants to retire.

He said ideally he would like to stay living at the park and is negotiating with potential buyers to be allowed to stay on after the sale has gone through.

Mr Daw refused to name the two bidders whom he is meeting this week, but said both were from the Midlands.

Dartmoor Wildlife Park closed its doors to the public on April 23, when almost 200 people showed up to catch a last glimpse of the site under Mr Daw's ownership.

It first opened in 1968, on farmland which the Daws bought after World War Two.

The park became home to animals from Britain and mainland Europe, expanding in the mid-Seventies to include big cats.

The park now has six Siberian tigers and five lions, as well as jaguars and lynx, a pack of wolves, European brown bears, ostriches, tapir, porcupines, falcons, deer, otters, foxes and peacocks.

WMN 6th June