C4 safari documentary boosts sales at favourite Knowsley park
4 weeks ago
The Secret Life of a Safari is half way through a six episode series after going behind the scenes to give a glimpse of what goes on away from the well-known trail.
Ticket sales and visitor numbers are up at Knowsley Safari after the C4 documentary aired showing life at the popular Prescot attraction.
And Ian Duke, marketing manager for Knowsley Safari, says although it’s hard to give figures just yet, the park is already seeing an increase in people wanting to find out more after having their interest piqued by what they’ve watched on TV.
“The documentary series has been really positive for us and people seem to have really enjoyed being able to see what goes on behind the scenes here, and learn more than when they’re just visiting the park,” he says.
“They can see Knowsley as more than just a day out.
“People have enjoyed learning more about the animals and procedures, and the animal team, and things they might not otherwise have known.”
And he adds: “There have been a lot of comments and questions to the keepers from people who recognise them and how particular animals are doing. They are so much more invested.”
Ian says the documentary, like the recent drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office, has shown the power of storytelling.
“Not until people make that emotional connection with a story does it gain momentum.
“We are hoping that, through the documentary, people connect with the stories we are able to tell about Knowsley, and it too will provoke an emotional response.”
Camera crews spent more than six months at Knowsley to catch the rarely seen footage of life at the safari park.
Already viewers have been treated to an insight of what goes on within its famous pride of lions, births of animals – as well as, sadly, deaths – and the comical capers of some of its residents, including, of course, the ‘juvenile delinquents’ better known as its hilarious baboons.
“We started speaking to the programme makers two years ago and they began filming in summer of 2022, finishing around this time last year,” explains Ian. “It was a long time for them to be here but a lot of that time was waiting for things to happen so they could capture the moment.
“For us it was a chance to show what goes on that visitors wouldn’t normally have access to, but also to reveal the conservation work we do, and efforts to help save animals who are endangered in the wild – and raise awareness of that.
“I think people like being able to follow the story. There’s a quote in opening sequence of the documentary by Pete Johnson, the deputy carnivore manager, that ‘every animal’s life is a story, and you can be a part of that story’, and there’s a real message in there.
“We don’t just want people to come and visit as a one off day out, but if they can invest in what goes on here, that would be brilliant.
“After the death of one of our tigers we launched a conservation fundraising campaign to support Amur tigers in the wild, called Roar for Amur. We’ve teamed up with the WildCats Conservation Alliance to help save Amur tigers in the wild by raising awareness of their endangered status and contributing to their conservation projects, and there has been a good response to this because of the documentary.”
Although he’s staying tight-lipped for now, Ian says visitors can look forward to plenty of ‘exciting things’ happening at Knowsley this year.
And he adds it’s always a great time to visit the safari park: “From now until the end of February, kids can go free with each paying adult, to make it a bit easier too.”