The Tragic True Story of Mickey

Whilst Zebedee Zeeker is a fun filled book aimed at children, the tragic true story of Mickey was the inspiration behind Zebedee Zeeker World’s Best Zookeeper.

Unlicensed Zoos

Back in the 1930s anybody could open a zoo. You didn’t need any credentials, any checks, there were no licensing requirements and no rules around animal welfare. At the time when Liverpool Zoological Park opened in Mossley Hill in 1930’s there were already several zoos in Liverpool.

Sailors brought animals back from all over the world including monkeys, giraffes and lions and these were housed at zoos across the UK.

Back then, we knew very little about caring for animals and feeding animals but our knowledge has thankfully developed over time.

Did you know that Chester Zoo first opened back in 1931 and it cost owner George Mottershead £3,500? The world’s oldest zoo is Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienne, Austria – opened in 1752.

Mickey “The Smoking” Chimpanzee

Mickey was the main attraction as Mossley Hill Zoological Park back in 1932. Mickey was prone to escaping from his cage and in 1937, the local newspaper the Liverpool Echo reported  his most popular escapade with the headline “Chimp’s adventure”.

During this escape, it was reported that Mickey had knocked over a lion tamer, bit a circus master, jumped an eight foot wall, climbed a tree to watch children coming home from school and kissed a woman whilst walking down the road with her arm in arm. Zookeepers managed to entice Mickey back to the zoo with an orange. 

Sadly the following year Mickey escaped again with a less enjoyable end. In March 1938, Mickey had once again broken an iron bar to escape from his cage. After a short rampage injuring 6 people including 3 children, Mickey was eventually shot by both police and zoo staff and he unfortunately met his demise.