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Gerald Durrell (known as Gerry to friends and family; January 7 1925 - January 30 1995) was a naturalist, zookeeper, author and television presenter, best known for founding the Jersey Zoological Park on the English Channel island of Jersey in 1958, and for writing a number of books based on his animal-collecting expeditions.
He was born in Jameshedpur, India of British parents who returned to the UK after the death of his father in 1928, but moved to mainland Europe in 1933 so he became used to travelling at an early age.
His wildlife expeditions began with a 1947 trip to the area that eventually became the country of Cameroon (financed by a £3,000 inheritance) and continued for many decades, during which time he became famous for his work for wildlife conservation.
On July 6 1963, he establised the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, known since his death as the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, to establish, at his zoo, breeding colonies of endangered species.
Durrell's books, which include several novels for children, have a wry but delightful style that poked fun at himself as well as those around him. Many feel his best work is My Family and Other Animals (1956), which tells of his idyllic childhood years on Corfu. It is delightfully deprecating of his whole family, especially elder brother Lawrence Durrell, who became a famous novelist. Nonetheless, the two were close friends all their lives. The book was also made into a television series.
Nonfiction books by Gerald Durrell
- The Overloaded Ark (1953)
- The Bafut Beagles (1954)
- Three Singles to Adventure (1954)
- The Drunken Forest (1956)
- My Family And Other Animals (1956)
- Encounters with Animals (1958)
- A Zoo in My Luggage (1960)
- Island Zoo (1961)
- Look At Zoos (1961)
- The Whispering Land (1961)
- Menagerie Manor (1964)
- Two in the Bush (1966)
- Birds, Beasts And Relatives (1969)
- Catch Me a Colobus (1972)
- Beasts in My Belfry (1973)
- The Stationary Ark (1976)
- Golden Bats And Pink Pigeons (1977)
- The Garden of the Gods (1978)
- The Picnic And Suchlike Pandemonium (1979)
- The Amateur Naturalist (1982) (with Lee Durrell)
- Ark On the Move (1982)
- How to Shoot an Amateur Naturalist (1984)
- Durrell in Russia (1986) (with Lee Durrell)
- The Ark's Anniversary (1990)
- The Aye-aye And I (1992)