Stefanie visits zoo that inspired Hollywood film
She is a Hollywood actress, the star of hit 1980s TV series Hart to Hart (with Robert Wagner) plus countless films and stage shows – including On Golden Pond, in which she is currently starring this week at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth.
He is the author of a best-selling book, We Bought a Zoo, in which he tells of his family's exploits in buying Dartmoor Zoological Park six years ago, and which has now been turned into a Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
But Stefanie Powers and Benjamin Mee have much more in common than glitzy blockbuster movies. Together, they share a passion for wildlife conservation, and yesterday Stefanie took time out from her theatrical role in Plymouth to visit Benjamin's zoo.
"I really wanted to come and meet Ben, because I believe that what he is trying to do here is really important," says Stefanie, who is president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation – named after the late Hollywood star who was her partner. The foundation runs a 2,000-acre game reserve in Kenya with more than 2,000 animals in 37 different species, plus an educational centre used by more than 10,000 students.
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"Zoos like this play an important role in species conservation, providing a safety net when other protective measures have failed. Captive breeding is an important tool in wildlife conservation, and this Zoological Park of Ben's is a fabulous grass roots effort, not only to preserve indigenous animals but also to provide a lovely facility," she added.
Stefanie and her colleagues saw a number of animals including South American Coatis (racoons), fallow deer and Dartmoor ponies, which, according to Ben "… are more endangered than the giant panda".