A champion of animals


Today, January 7 is the birthday of British zoologist and writer, Gerald Durrell who was born in Jamshedpur, India in 1925. Durrell loved animals from an early age and to the distress of his mother, brought many specimens home. He became interested in rare and endangered animals and his dream was to one day open his own zoo. At the suggestion of his brother, novelist Lawrence Durrell, he began to write of his adventures to many parts of the world to collect animals so that he could finance his projects. In 1953, he published his first book, The Overloaded Ark, which was a great success. He went on to write over 30 more books and was eventually able to open his own zoo on the Jersey Islands. The zoo led to the development of the the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an organization whose mission is to save endangered animals from extinction.

In a letter he wrote to seal in a time capsule, he says: "We hope that there will be fireflies and glow-worms at night to guide you and butterflies in hedges and forests to greet you. We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you." I hope so too.