Wolds Wildlife Park featured in the first episode of a new two-part ITV documentary ‘Britain’s Tiger Kings’ with Ross Kemp on Tuesday and will be in next week’s instalment too.
Tracy Walters and Andrew Riddel own the Horncastle wildlife park, which now has a collection of around 230 animals including lions, leopards, tapirs, camels, a lima, and a lynx, as well as two tigers who will be arriving in the near future.
They initially turned down the opportunity when they were first approached by the production company Honey Bee, as they are not keen on the limelight. But they later decided to participate and enjoyed meeting Ross.
They featured in episode one on March 30 and will also be in the second part, which airs at 9pm on Tuesday, April 6, although not to the same extent.
In episode one, Ross headed to Lincolnshire. While watching their lion eat, Ross asks Tracy about her relationship with the animals and she says: “I couldn’t be like a normal zoo and pass him on to another zoo. I wouldn’t do it, no…they are my babies.”
Andrew and Tracy were gifted four lions by circus performer Martin Lacey Jr in 2019 after looking after his dad.
Andrew went to Germany with Ross and part of the documentary shows them going to see Martin at Krona Circus, where the lions and tigers are kept. Ross unwittingly ends up in a cage with a lion.
Ross said: “There will be lots of people in Britain that will say, ‘Well, that’s totally wrong, we love animals, that’s why we don’t want to see them in circuses or in zoos or in cages.'”
Ross also meets a man called Reece Oliver who keeps two lions in his back garden, as well as going to see former circus trainer Jim Clubb in Oxfordshire.
Andrew and Tracy feature again in episode two, but to a lesser extent. Episode two sees Ross travel to Derby to meet Gary Smith, a lorry driver who keeps almost 50 dangerous snakes in his three-bedroom terraced house.
He also goes to Chipping Norton to see Jim Clubb, who owns five tigers and shows Ross a pair of black leopards he has recently acquired.
Ross also travels to the coast of West Wales to meet Tracey and Dean Tweed who sold their home in Kent, and paid £625,000 to take over a zoo in Borth, then known as Britain’s worst, which they try to turn around.
Salcombe in Devon and Cambridgeshire are also visited by Ross in the final episode of the documentary.