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Summary Article: Durrell, Gerald (Malcolm)
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English naturalist, writer, and zoo curator. He became director of Jersey Zoological Park in 1958, and wrote 37 books, including the humorous memoir My Family and Other Animals (1956). He was the brother of the writer Lawrence Durrell.

Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India, and spent part of his childhood in Corfu, Greece, where he set up his own childhood zoo of scorpions, lizards, and eagle owls. Critical of the conditions in which most zoos kept animals, the lack of interest in breeding programmes, and the concentration on large species, such as the big cats, rhinos, and elephants, Durrell became determined to build up his own zoo, and to run it so that it could supplement conservation programmes in the wild rather than detract from them. He finally settled in Jersey, where he founded the Jersey Zoological Park. Through his work in conservation – within his zoo and as chair of the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society – and perhaps more particularly his many books and television programmes, Durrell encouraged and inspired a whole generation of naturalists, zoologists, and zoo keepers.

The Jersey Zoological Park concentrated mainly on animal and plant species from oceanic islands, and established many successful breeding programmes including the golden lion tamarin and the Mauritius pink pigeon, both of which were successfully reintroduced to their habitats. Durrell also set up an international training centre near the zoo, which is now the world's foremost centre for training animal keepers, specifically those from the developing world. It has trained 700 people from over 80 countries.


Durrell, Gerald (Malcolm)

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