Durrell: One man and his chimp
Jersey's conservation hero
Gerald Durrell dedicated his life to trying to ensure that mankind's mistakes and ignorance does not result in the extinction of the planet's wildlife. He truly was a hero of conservation.
Gerald Durrell is one of Jersey’s most famous residents and the legacy of his conservation work here in the island has had truly successful repercussions all over the world.
Whilst working as a student keeper he pioneered his philosophy that zoos have a duty to save species from extinction, and during his lifetime he tirelessly worked championing the causes of endangered species.
Gerald Durrell had 37 books published (c) Durrell
In 1959 Gerald set up Jersey Zoo (now Durrell) with inherited funds at Les Augres Manor in Trinity, and later formed the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to run the zoo.
Durrell breeds rare animals from all corners of the globe in captivity with the aim of releasing them back into the wild, they also fight hard to preserve the creatures’ natural habitat.
The zoo also runs a number of projects that aim to preserve the local environment and wildlife with considerable success.
Durrell also tries to grow as much of the animals food on an in-house organic farm as possible.
Gerald Durrell died on 30 January 1995
Many zoologists consider Durrell to be the foremost zoo in the world and numerous zoologists and conservationists come from far and wide to study and learn at the zoo.
Gerald Durrell also wrote a number of incredibly popular books, mostly autobiographical, which he used to financially support himself as he refused to take a salary from his zoo.
Thanks, in no small part, to Gerald Durrell conservation is now at the forefront of most people’s mind – a far cry from the world he grew up in.
Several species have been saved from extinction directly due to the hard-work, vision and tireless campaigning of this extraordinary Jersey resident.
Durrell, who died in 1995 at the age of 70, beat 42 other nominees to become BBC One’s South West Hero.
last updated: 21/04/2009 at 14:12
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