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13 November 2014

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You are in: Jersey > People > Famous islanders > Jersey's conservation hero

Gerald Durrell holding an ape

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 with lemurs (c) Durrell

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 with animal on shoulder

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
created: 05/06/2007

Have Your Say

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Monkee Man
Carol What have u done to support the wildlife???????and why critisize and say such garbage

Gorilla Monkey
Did u know that recently a silverback threw some of its melon at two elderlish ladies taking a photograph from a flash camera these animals are so intelligent and guess i wouldnt like to be stared at photographed evry day and shows this gorilla is very wise and monkeys are so cool

Shame he never did anything to protect Jersey, its wildlife and habitats.Just commercial spin for a zoo. The environment would have been better off of Durrell was in Mauritus with the Dodo. Perhaps John Upoff and Mr Darcy could join them.

Simone From England
Gerald Durrell is wonderful and what he has done for conservation amazing, more should be done for wildlife and pets animals in general for their welbeing and let us all try to stop animals becoming extinct or adopt animals or give money here to charity animals wildlife. Mr Gerald Durrell i would have loved to have met, the Jersey conservation centre is a wonderful excellent place with many cared for animals, interesting insightful talks and lovely area to sit and sunbathe to. Chester Zoo in England is very good but Durrell Conservation trust is excellent and there should be a statue in Jersey. St Helier of Mr Durrell as he has done so much for the wildlife

i love monkeys!!!! :)

Ms Wearne
Mr Durrell reminds me of my Dad as he too was such a caring man and i love people that care so much about animals as there are so many folk very self centered and so many animals and pets suffering or becoming extinct and i also love animals and believe they have emotions and feelings just like us and can suffer too. My Gerald Durrell has done so much with her conservation work and the lovely Durrell conservation trust in Jersey which is a huge pleasure to visit to see the animals and enjoy the park beautiful setting and cafe etc and years ago remember vaguely watching something about this man on television and never imagined ever visiting here and when i did realised Durrell was the man i saw on telly who i thought was amazing lovely caring person and someone i would have liked to have met and hope to read his book and hope that Durrell wildlife centre will continue to do well and will long continue its excellent work and saving many wonderful animals from extinction and Gerald Durrell will long be remembered and there should be a statue in st helier etc similar to the one in wildlife centre to honour him

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