Jersey may be a small island, but it has plenty of heart and spirit. Especially the naturalist and author Gerald Durell, who in 1959 set up a Jersey Zoo and a wildlife conservation trust to help save endangered species of animals.
The humble beginnings of Jersey Zoo start with Gerald Durrell.
Gerald Durrell was always interested in animals and nature and would collect local fauna during his childhood in Corfu. His love of animals grew so much that after the end of World War II, he joined Whipsnade Zoo as a junior keeper. To see animals in the wild were his real dream and after leaving Whipsnade he managed travel with wildlife expeditions to parts of Africa.
Although Durrell would capture these animals and sell them to other zoos in the UK, it wasn’t the animals that would make the most money. Rather, Durrell say this as a way to save endangered species with reserves and methods of regeneration.
Gerald Durrell was ahead of his time when he postulated the role that a 20th-century zoo should play, where their primary purpose should be to act as a reserve of critically endangered species which need captive breeding in order to survive.
They can serve the secondary purposes of educating people about wildlife and natural history, and of educating biologists about the animal’s habits, and not for the purposes or entertainment. The aim should be to for the purposes of reintroducing species into their natural habitats.
Durrell originally wanted to build a zoo on the south of England but was turned down by Poole and Bournemouth. Jersey was more than willing to become a home.
The lowland gorilla family have been at the part of the Zoo since it originally in 1959. There are also a number of Gibbons, Orangutans, Lemurs, Tamarins and Macaques.