Pierre Thivillon has been hailed as a modern day Noah, saving hundreds of animals in France over the past 30 years.
They’re some of the scores of exotic creatures seized every year, either after being abandoned or because they’re being kept illegally.
From lions and tigers, to gorillas that share meals with Pierre and his wife, all have found refuge at the St-Martin-la-Plaine Zoo near Lyon.
Dateline goes behind the scenes at the zoo, and joins officials on a raid of a circus where animals are being kept illegally.
And for anyone who wants to get over their fear of handling crocodiles, there’s an insight into the kind of reptiles that people even try and smuggle in their luggage.
WATCH - Apologies but this report, narrated by Victoria Strobl, is no longer available for copyright reasons. You can however still read the transcript.
On air: 9th October 2012