British zoologist, traveller, writer, and broadcaster 1925 - 1995
Born in Jamshedpur, India on January 7th 1925, he and his brothers Lawrence, Leslie and his sister Margot were raised by his mother after the death of his father when he was aged two. In 1928 the family moved back to England, and in 1933 began living in Europe, finally settling in Corfu, where they lived until 1939.
During his stay in Corfu, he further developed his interest in animals and zoology, studying the local fauna and keeping a number of unusual pets. He collected his reminiscences in 'My Family and Other Animals', a series of comic and informative observations on the island, the people, but above all, the animals.
Following the outbreak of World War II, the Durrell family moved back to England, where Gerald worked in a pet shop, but devoted his spare time to working at the London Zoo until 1945, when he managed to obtain a place as student keeper at Whipsnade Park, where he did a lot of work on safe transportation of animals. This led to his later organisation of collecting expeditions, using his safe and humane methods.
In 1947 he organized, and led his first expedition to the Cameroons. This was followed by further expeditions to British Guiana, Paraguay, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, Assam, Mexico and Madagascar. He also founded the Jersey Zoological Park in 1959, and was founder chairman of the Wildlife Preservation Trust International in 1972.
He began his writing to fund his expeditions, and whilst he became highly prolific, maintained that his primary goal was to preserve and conserve endangered animals. Similarly, he hosted and narrated many TV programmes (including "The Stationary Ark", "The Ark on the Move" and "Ourselves and other Animals"), all with the same end in view - global animal welfare.
He died in 1995 following a long illness.
Gerald Durrell was a pioneer in a field that is now reaching critical importance as we enter a new century. How do we continue to preserve the diversity of species on this, our planet Earth? Durrell has given us, with humor and wit, a lot of the information that we need to continue with this goal. Gently, at times, and forcefully when needed, he has written books and produced TV series that are informative as well as entertaining. His life contained values that hopefully will continue onward as new generations read his books. nhnh.essortment.com/geralddurrellb_rbzr.htm