As a zoologist, conservationist, traveler, writer, broadcaster, and founder of Wildlife Preservation Canada, Wildlife Trust (US) and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (UK), Gerald Durrell made an impact in the field of conservation that few others can claim.
Gerald Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, India in 1925. When he was ten, his widowed mother took her family to live on the Greek island of Corfu where Gerry was educated by private tutors. From 1945-46 he worked at Whipsnade Zoo and then went on several animal-collecting expeditions to Cameroon, Guyana, and other countries.
In the 1950s Gerry published his first animal stories, which became very popular and have been translated into many languages. My Family and Other Animals (1956) told tales about his unconventional family and the islanders on Corfu. In The Drunken Forest (1978) and Three Tickets to Adventure (1954) Gerry described his animal-collecting expeditions.
Through these novels, Gerry shared his love and understanding of animals, from scorpions to aye-ayes. He helped his readers appreciate the wonderful diversity of life on this planet and realize our responsibility to preserve it.
In 1959, Gerry founded the Jersey Zoo, today the headquarters of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and a training ground for conservation biologists from around the world to learn proven techniques for saving endangered species. With his second wife, Lee, a conservationist, Gerry bred rare species for eventual return to the wild.
Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada was founded by Gerry in 1985 and continues his lifelong work of saving endangered species through hands-on conservation techniques and training conservation personnel to work in their native countries. On Gerry’s death in 1995, the Gerald Durrell Memorial Fund was established to support graduates of the International Training Centre.
Gerald Durrell’s books have been entertaining and inspiring people of all ages for a long time and his most popular stories are now available as e-books. Recently, Pan Macmillan published a range of Gerald Durrell’s books from its new digital imprint Bello, reviving 20th century classics for a 21st century audience. For more information on Macmillan’s Bell imprint see www.panmacmillan.com.