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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 16:06 GMT
Devon wildlife park up for sale
Ellis Daw and wolf
Mr Daw believes the animals will miss him when he retires
The owner of a Devon wildlife park is selling the site.

Ellis Daw, who is selling Dartmoor Wildlife Park because he is retiring, says he has been inundated with interest from developers.

But 76-year-old Mr Daw says he has built the park at Sparkwell, outside Plymouth, over many years and has no intention of seeing it broken up.

He insists he will sell the 30-acre animal park as a going concern and says there are two serious contenders.

I'm not looking forward to it, but maybe I'll die before then
Ellis Daw

In the past he has faced criticism from animal welfare groups about how he keeps his animals.

In 2002 Mr Daw was given a conditional discharge after admitted breeding tigers illegally and housing them in unsuitable conditions. The tigers and two jaguar cubs were later sent to a wildlife centre in Holland.

Mr Daw has run the wildlife park since 1968 and says it will be a wrench to leave it.

"I shall be rather lost, because I've been here for more than 56 years," he said.

"I think the animals will miss me. They know me because I do the rounds several times a day.

"I'm not looking forward to it, but maybe I'll die before then."

Mr Daw has already prepared and erected his memorial stone at Sparkwell.

He said: "The ashes of my parents, sister and other relations are here on the front lawn and that's where I want mine to be too."

Mr Daw is hoping to sell the site within the next two months.

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