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About Us!

So who are we, and why do we do what we do?!


Sam's Safaris was founded by Helen Duke (now Helen Wild!) in 2002 with the goal to educate by allowing both children and adults the chance to get first hand experience and have hands-on encounters with different species of animals.


Our mission is to educate about the natural behaviour, biology, habitats and diets of our exotic species, raise awareness of wildlife conservation and give everyone the chance to interact with animals that they may have never had the chance to see before.


We also aim to raise awareness of wild animals in captivity in order to improve the standards of care and reduce the large number of animals that are sent into rescues centres, or worse, abandoned, each year. By educating about the specialised requirements of exotic animals we hope to raise awareness that (although amazing) they can be difficult to keep, and some simply do not make good pets!




Helen Wild (A.k.a. 'Sam')

Helen (Sam) has been passionate about animals since she was a little girl, in fact her family will tell you that it is ALL she ever talked about, stroking, cuddling and learning about them at any opportunity! Helen was given the nickname 'Sam' by her family as she reminded them of the cartoon character Sammy the Seal by clapping when she was excited, and the name stuck. During her time in the army and, later, when working with EYFS children she would take in unwanted or neglected animals, resulting in quite a collection of rescue critters. Looking after the animals soon became a job in itself and Helen decided to use the opportunity to combine her passion for animals with her drive to educate others by allowing hands-on learning..... and so Sam's Safaris was born! She has since continued her plight to educate and has visited hundreds of schools, shows, colleges and care homes inspiring many others with her enthusiasm and knowledge. 


Helen and Sam's Safaris now have a diverse and unusual array of around 40 different species, with around 80% of the animals being donated as unwanted pets, or rescue centres.


Simon 'The Fixer' Wild 

Simon, as well as being Helen's (long-suffering) husband is an integral part of Sam's Safaris who has resigned himself to the ever growing collection of animals in his garden (and often in his house), as well as adding a few of his own! Simon grew up taking in injured animals and nursing them back to health and his compassion continues to this day. In between his role as chief enclosure builder and general fixer upper, he is often looking after injured birds of prey (and the occasional Wood Pigeon) as well as our resident birds, Spirit and Willow the barn owls.


Zoe Hartley

Zoe comes from Market Weighton and attended Askham Bryan College in York. She completed a level three extended diploma in animal management, zoo and collection management.

Zoe did a 10 month placement at Jersey Zoo where she worked with the Bears, Macaques and Birds. Zoe's favourite animals are Giant Ant Eaters and Tapirs. Zoe's goal in life is to be a full time zoo keeper.

Zoe is a Cub Scout Leader in Market Weighton where her name is Chil.

Zoe's hero is Sir David Attenborough


Georgie Senior-Wootton

Georgie went to Snaith High school and then on to Pontefract College where he studied drama. Georgie's hobbies include film making and he has his own YouTube channel where he shows his own documentaries and films he also loves his car.

Georgie has always been interested in animals his favourites are snakes especially Flash our mountain king snake.

Georgie would love to make nature documentaries with his hero Coyote Peterson.

Georgie's favourite events are the Harry Potter events we attend where he plays endless tricks on the families dressed as Newt Scamander.

Hello and welcome to Sam's Safaris!

cuban hutia and helen duke
sams safaris helen duke

Meet the team

We are also lucky enough to have a brilliant team of helpers and assistants who work with us at Sam's Safaris HQ, and out on the road....


Fot more information, or to book

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