Eco Warriors
Gerald Durrell
-By Rani Iyer

Gerald Durrell was born in Jamshedpur, in 1925, and he lived there until 1933 when his family returned to England. Then, they lived in Corfu Island until 1939. But by then, the nature bug, the love for studying and observing creatures in nature, had already smitten him!
He served as a student keeper in a zoo and in 1947 he financed and organized an animal collecting expedition to the Cameroon. He followed it with expeditions to British Guiana in 1948 and 1949. Collecting animals from the wild was his passion. He led expeditions into the jungles of Assam, Paraguay, Argentina, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, Madagascar and Mexico. Today some of these regions are recognized as 'hotspots', areas where there is more diversity, in plants and animals, than other regions of the world.

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He also filmed a Television serial, Two in the bush, based in Australia, New Zealand and Malaya.
Gerald had to face many challenges in his lifetime. Lawrence Durrell, his father, died while Gerald was a baby. His mother, Louisa Durrell was left to bring up four children.
Even as a child, he was fascinated by nature and it is described in engaging humorous manner in the book, "My family and other animals". "Birds, Beasts and Relatives" and "Fillets of Plaice" also describe his childhood adventures. As a young child, Gerald wanted to establish his own zoo. So, he began to capture animals from the wild and bring them home. Imagine the shock of his family members when they discovered his 'collections' escaping all around the home! Finally the family converted a spare room for his animal storage and scientific equipment.
He was taught by private tutors- Geography was studied by arranging driftwood, shells and other seaside debris into continents and countries on the beaches where Durrell swam and played. After his return to England, he worked in a zoo and realized how endangered animals were in nature. He founded the Jersey Zoological Park in 1959, and established Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in 1964.
He bred the endangered Pere David deer and spread them throughout the world. Many other rare and endangered animals, birds and reptiles have been bred and sold to other zoos by Durrell. Others were saved from near extinction, like the Przewalski's horse. Read any of his 50 books to enjoy nature with a sense of humor!



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