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The Gerald Durrell Memorial VHS cover, with a self portrait

Gerald ('Gerry') Malcolm Durrell, OBE (January 7, 1925 – January 30, 1995) was a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author, and television presenter. He founded what is now called the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoomarker (now renamed Durrell Wildlife) on the Channel Island of Jerseymarker in 1958, but is perhaps best remembered for writing a number of books based on his life as an animal collector and enthusiast. He was the brother of the novelist Lawrence Durrell.


Durrell was born in Jamshedpurmarker, then Bihar Province, Indiamarker on January 7, 1925. His parents had themselves been born in India but were of English and Irish descent. He was the fourth surviving and final child of Louisa Florence Dixie and Lawrence Samuel Durrell. Durrell's father was a British engineer, and as befitting family status, the infant Durrell spent most of his time in the company of the ayah (nursemaid). Durrell reportedly recalls his first visit to a zoo in India, and attributes his life-long love of animals to that encounter. The family moved to England after the death of his father in 1928. Back in England, the Durrells settled in the Upper Norwoodmarker - Crystal Palacemarker area of South London. Durrell was enrolled in Wickwood School, but usually stayed at home feigning illness.

The Corfu years

The family moved to the Greekmarker island of Corfumarker in 1935, where Durrell began to collect and keep the local fauna as pets. The family stayed until 1939. This interval was later the basis of the book, My Family and Other Animals and its successors, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods, plus a few short stories like "My Donkey Sally". Durrell was home-schooled during this time by various family friends and private tutors, mostly friends of his eldest brother Lawrence (later a famous novelist). One of Durrell's tutor's friend, the Greek doctor, scientist, poet, and philosopher Theodore Stephanides, became Durrell's greatest friend and mentor, and his ideas left a lasting impression on the young naturalist. Together, they examined Corfu fauna, which Durrell housed in everything from test tubes to bathtubs. Another major influence during these formative years, according to Durrell, was the writing of French naturalist Jean Henri Fabre.

The London years and Whipsnade Zoo

Gerald, his mother, brother Leslie and their Greek maid Maria Kondos moved back to England in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. Difficult as it was in the war and post-war years to find a job, especially for a home-schooled youth, the enterprising Durrell worked as a help at an aquarium and pet store. Some reminiscences of this period can be found in Fillets of Plaice. His call-up for the war came in 1943, but he was exempted from military duty on medical grounds, and asked to serve the war effort by working on a farm. After the war, Durrell joined Whipsnade Zoomarker as a junior or student keeper in 1945. This move fulfilled a lifelong dream: Durrell claims in The Stationary Ark that the first word that he could enunciate with any clarity was "zoo". Beasts in My Belfry recalls events of this period.

The early animal expeditions

Durrell left Whipsnade Zoo in May, 1946 in order to join wildlife collecting expeditions of the time, but was denied a place in the voyages due to his lack of experience. Durrell's wildlife expeditions began with a 1947 trip to the British Cameroons (now Cameroonmarker) with ornithologist John Yealland, financed by a £3,000 inheritance from his father on the occasion of his turning 21. The animals he brought back were sold to London Zoomarker, Chester Zoomarker, Paignton Zoomarker, Bristol Zoomarker and Belle Vue Zoomarker (Manchestermarker). He continued such excursions for many decades, during which time he became famous for his work for wildlife conservation.

He followed up this successful expedition with two others, accompanied by fellow Whipsnade zookeeper Ken Smith: a repeat trip to the British Cameroon, and to British Guiana (now Guyanamarker) in 1949 and 1950 respectively. On the first of these trips, he met and befriended the shrewd and colourful Fon of Bafut Achirimbi II, an autocratic West African chieftain, who would help him organize future missions.

Because of his dedication, Durrell housed and fed his captives with the best supplies obtainable, never over-collecting specimens, never trapping animals having merely "show value", or those which would fetch high prices from collectors. These practices differed from those of other animal-collecting expeditions of the time, and, as a result, Durrell was broke by the end of his third expedition. Further, due to a falling-out with George Cansdale, superintendent of the London Zoomarker, Durrell was blackballed by the British zoo community and could not secure a job in most zoos, ultimately securing a job at the aquarium at Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester where he remained for some time.

On February 26, 1951, after an extended courtship, Durrell married Manchester resident Jacqueline Sonia Wolfenden — they eloped, due to opposition from her father. The couple initially lived in a small bedsitter in Durrell's sister Margaret Durrell's Bournemouthmarker boarding house. Jacquie accompanied Durrell on most of his following animal expeditions, and helped found and manage the Jersey Zoomarker. She also authored two humorous, bestselling memoirs on the lines of Durrell's books, to raise money for conservation efforts.

With encouragement and assistance from Jacquie , and advice from elder brother Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell started writing humorous autobiographical accounts to raise money, initially because he and Jacquie were broke after their wedding and Durrell didn't have a source of income, and then later to fund his expeditions and conservation efforts. His first book — The Overloaded Ark — was a huge success, causing Durrell to follow up with other such accounts. While Durrell only made £50 from British rights (Faber and Faber), he obtained £500 from the United Statesmarker rights (Viking Press) for the book, and thus managed to raise money for a fourth expedition to South America in 1954. This, however, was undertaken during a political coup d'etat in Paraguaymarker and was unsuccessful.

Foundations for the Jersey Zoo

The publication of My Family and Other Animals in 1956 made Durrell a notable author, in addition, bringing him public recognition as a naturalist. Royalties from this book, which made bestseller lists in the United Kingdom, helped fund Durrell's next expedition.

Durrell's growing disillusionment with the way zoos of the time were run, and his belief that they should primarily act as reserves and regenerators of endangered species, made him contemplate founding his own zoo. His 1957 trip to Cameroonmarker for the third and last time was primarily to collect animals which would form the core collection of his own zoo. This expedition was also filmed, Durrell's first experiment with making a cinematographic record of his work with animals. The success of the film To Bafut with Beagles, together with his popular and autobiographical radio programme Encounters with Animals, made Durrell a regular with the BBC Natural History unit for decades to come, as well as generating much-needed funds for his conservation projects.

On his return from Bafut, Durrell and wife Jacquie stayed with his sister Margaret at her boarding house in the seaside resort of Bournemouthmarker. His animals were housed in her gardens and garage on a temporary basis, while Durrell sought prospective sites for a zoo. To his dismay, both Bournemouthmarker and Poolemarker municipalities turned down his suggestion for a zoo. This experience provided material for his book A Zoo in My Luggage.

The Zoo and the Trust

Durrell founded the Jersey Zoological Parkmarker in 1958 to house his growing collection of animals. The site for the zoo, a 16th-century manor house, Les Augres Manor, came to Durrell's notice by chance after a long and unsuccessful search for a suitable site. Durrell leased the manor and set up his zoo on the redesigned manor grounds. In the same year, Durrell undertook another, more successful expedition to South America to collect endangered species. The zoo was opened to the public in 1959 on Easter Sunday.

As the zoo grew in size, so did the number of projects undertaken to save threatened wildlife in other parts of the world. Durrell was instrumental in founding the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, on July 6, 1963 to cope with the increasingly difficult challenges of zoo, wildlife and habitat management.

The Trust opened an international wing, the Wildlife Preservation Trust International, in U.S. in 1971, to aid international conservation efforts in a better fashion. That year, the Trust bought out Les Augres Manor from its owner, Major Hugh Fraser, giving the zoo a permanent home.

Durrell's initiative caused the Fauna and Flora Preservation Society to start the World Conference on Breeding Endangered Species in Captivity as an Aid to their Survival in 1972 at Jerseymarker, today one of the most prestigious conferences in the field. 1972 also saw Princess Anne becoming a patron of the Trust, an action which brought the Trust into media limelight, and helped raise funds.

The 1970s saw Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust become a leading zoo in the field of captive breeding, championing the cause among species like the Lowland Gorilla, and various Mauritianmarker fauna. Durrell visited Mauritius several times and coordinated large scale conservation efforts in Mauritius, involving captive breeding programmes for native birds and reptiles, ecological recovery of Round Island, training local staff, and setting up local in-situ and ex-situ conservation facilities. This ultimately led to the founding of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation in 1984.

Jacquie Durrell separated from and then divorced Gerald Durrell in 1979, citing his increasing work pressure, associated alcoholism and mounting stress as causes.

Durrell met his second wife Lee McGeorge Durrell in 1977 when he lectured at Duke Universitymarker, where she was studying for a PhD in animal communication. They married in 1979. She co-authored a number of books with him, including The Amateur Naturalist, and became the Honorary Director of the Trust after his death.

In 1978 Durrell started the training centre for conservationists at the zoo, or the "mini-university" in his words. As of 2005, over a thousand biologists, naturalists, zoo veterinarians, and zoo architects from 104 countries have attended the International Training Centre. Durrell was also instrumental in forming the Captive Breeding Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union in 1982.

Durrell founded Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada, now Wildlife Preservation Canada, in 1985. The official appeal Saving Animals from Extinction was launched in 1991, at a time when British zoos were not faring well and London Zoomarker was in danger of closing down.

In 1989, Durrell and his wife Lee, along with David Attenborough and cricket star David Gower helped launch the World Land Trust (then the World Wide Land Conservation Trust). The initial goal of the trust was to purchase rain forest land in Belizemarker as part of the Programme for Belize. Around this time Gerald Durrell developed a friendship with Charles Rycroft, who became an important donor of funds both for building works in Jersey (the Harcroft Lecture Theatre) and for conservation work in East Africa, Madagascar and elsewhere.

1990 saw the Trust establish a conservation programme in Madagascarmarker along the lines of the Mauritiusmarker programme. Durrell visited Madagascar in 1990 to start captive breeding of a number of endemic species like the Aye Aye.

Durrell chose the Dodo, the flightless bird of Mauritius that was hunted to extinction in the 1600s, as the logo for both the Jersey Zoomarker and the Trust. The children's chapter of the Trust is called the Dodo Club. Following his death, the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust was renamed Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust at the 40th anniversary of the Zoomarker on March 26, 1999. The Wildlife Preservation Trust International also changed its name to Wildlife Trust in 2000, and adopted the logo of the Black Tamarin.

Final years

A hard, outdoor life, led Durrell to health problems in the 1980s. He underwent hip-replacement surgery in a bid to counter arthritis, but he also suffered from liver problems. His health deteriorated rapidly after the 1990 Madagascar trip. Durrell died of post-surgical complications following a liver transplantation, on January 30, 1995. His ashes are buried under a memorial plaque with a quote by William Beebe in Jersey Zoo.

"The beauty and genius of a work of art may be re-conceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."
(The Bird, 1906)

A memorial celebrating Durrell's life and work was held at the Natural History Museummarker, London on June 28, 1995. Participants included personal friends such as David Attenborough and Princess Anne.

Policy for zoos

Gerald Durrell was ahead of his time when he postulated the role that a 20th century zoo should play, primarily in Stationary Ark. His idea relies on the following bases:

  • The primary purpose of a zoo 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.
  • Zoos should not be run for the purposes of entertainment only, and non-threatened species should be re-introduced into their natural habitats.
  • An animal should be present in the zoo only as a last resort, when all efforts to save it in the wild have failed.

Durrell's ideas about housing zoo animals also brings his priorities to the fore. The bases on which enclosures at Jersey are built:

  • Enclosures should be built keeping in mind — firstly, the comfort of the animal (including a private shelter), secondly for the convenience of the animal keeper, and finally for the viewing comfort of visitors.
  • The size of an enclosure should depend on how large their territories might be.
  • The companions of an animal should reflect not only ecological niche and biogeographic concerns, but its social abilities as well — how well it gets on with other members of its species and other species.
  • Every animal deserves food of its choice, sometimes made interesting by variation; and a mate of its choice; and a nice, and interesting environment.

Jersey Zoo was the first zoo to house only endangered breeding species, and has been one of the pioneers in the field of captive breeding. The International Training Centre, and the organization of the conference on captive breeding are also notable firsts.

Durrell initially faced stiff opposition and criticism from some members of the zoo community when he introduced the idea of captive breeding, and was only vindicated after successfully breeding a wide range of species. One of the most active opposition members was George Cansdale, superintendent of the London Zoomarker and Zoological Society of London, and wielder of considerable influence in the zoo community.

Durrell's books

Durrell's books, both fiction and non-fiction, have a wry, loose style that poked fun at himself as well as those around him. Perhaps his best-known work is My Family and Other Animals (1956), which tells of his idyllic, if oddball, childhood on Corfu. Later made into a TV series, it is delightfully deprecating about the whole family, especially elder brother Lawrence, who became a famous novelist. Despite Durrell's jokes at the expense of "brother Larry," the two were close friends all their lives.

Gerald Durrell always insisted that he wrote for royalties to help the cause of environmental stewardship, not out of an inherent love for writing. Gerald Durrell describes himself as a writer in comparison to his brother Lawrence:
The subtle difference between us is that he loves writing and I don't. To me it's simply a way to make money which enables me to do my animal work, nothing more.

However, he shows a surprising diversity and dexterity in a wide variety of writing, including:
  • autobiographical accounts: Most of his works are of such kind — characterized by a love for nature and animals, dry wit, crisp descriptions and humorous analogies of human beings with animals and vice versa. The most famous of these is the Corfumarker trilogy — My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, and The Garden of the Gods.
  • short stories: often bordering on the Roald Dahl-esque, like "Michelin Man" in Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium. The latter also has an acclaimed gothic horror story titled "The Entrance". Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories also has a few short stories.
  • novels: Durrell's only three novels are Rosy is My Relative, the story about the bequeathed elephant which Durrell claimed is based on real life events; The Mockery Bird, the fable based loosely on the story of Mauritiusmarker and the Dodo; and The Talking Parcel, a tale of children at large in a land of mythological creatures.
  • technical essays: The Stationary Ark is a collection of technical essays on zoo-keeping and conservation.
  • guides: The Amateur Naturalist is the definitive guide for a budding naturalist over the last 20 years.
  • stories for young adults: The Donkey Rustlers is an Enid Blyton-ish feel good novel, while The Talking Parcel is a fantasy novel for younger readers.
  • natural history books for children: The New Noah is a collection of encounters with animals from Durrell's previous expeditions, written with children in mind.
  • stories for children: Keeper, Toby the Tortoise, The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure, and the The Fantastic Flying Adventure are lavishly illustrated stories for young children.
  • board and picture books: the board book series Puppy Stories are for infants, and the picture book Island Zoo is for young children about the first animals in Jersey Zoomarker.

Durrell was also a regular contributor to magazines on both sides of the Atlantic like Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, and The Sunday Times Supplement. He was also a regular book reviewer for New York Times. A number of excerpts and stories from his books were used by Octopus Books and Readers' Digest Publishing, including in the Reader's Digest Condensed Books.

Durrell's works have been translated into 31 languages, and made into TV serials, and feature films. He has a large followings in northern and eastern Europe, Russiamarker, Israelmarker, and in various commonwealth countries, including India.

The British Librarymarker houses a collection of Durrell's books, presented by him to Alan G. Thomas, as part of the Lawrence Durrell Collectionmarker.


Durrell was a talented artist and caricaturist, but worked with numerous illustrators over the years starting with Sabine Baur for The Overloaded Ark (published by Faber and Faber). Two of his most productive collaborations were with Ralph Thompson (Bafut Beagles, Three Singles To Adventure, The New Noah, The Drunken Forest, Encounters with Animals, A Zoo in My Luggage, The Whispering Land, Menagerie Manor) (published by Rupert Hart-Davis) and Edward Mortelmans (Catch Me A Colobus, Beasts in My Belfry, Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons) (published by Collins). The illustrations are mostly sketches of animal subjects. Ralph Thompson has even visited the Jersey Zoological Park in-house during the sketching period for Menagerie Manor.

Other illustrators who worked with Durrell were Barry L. Driscoll who illustrated Two in the Bush, Pat Marriott who illustrated Look at Zoos, and Anne Mieke van Ogtrop who illustrated The Talking Parcel and Donkey Rustlers.

Gerald Durrell authored a number of lavishly illustrated children's books in his later years. Graham Percy was the illustrator for The Fantastic Flying Journey and The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure. Toby the Tortoise and Keeper were illustrated by Keith West. His Puppy board books were illustrated by Cliff Wright.

Honours and legacy

Species and homages

Major expeditions

Year Place Primary purpose Book Film Species in focus
1947 / 1948 Mamfemarker, British Cameroon (now Cameroonmarker) Independent animal collecting mission for British zoos The Overloaded Ark Angwantibo, Giant Otter Shrew
1949 Mamfemarker and Bafutmarker, British Cameroon (now Cameroon) Independent animal collecting mission for British zoos The Bafut Beagles Galago, Hairy Frog, African Golden Cat, Flying mouse
1950 British Guiana (now Guyanamarker) Independent animal collecting mission for British zoos Three Singles to Adventure Giant Otter, Poison arrow frogs, Surinam Toad, Capybara, Brazilian Porcupine
1953 / 1954 Argentinamarker and Paraguaymarker Partially sponsored animal collecting mission The Drunken Forest Burrowing Owl, Ovenbird, Anaconda, Rhea, Giant Anteater
1957 Bafut, British Cameroon (now Cameroon) Animal collecting mission for his own to-be zoo A Zoo in My Luggage To Bafut With Beagles Reticulated Python, Patas, Galago, Grey-necked Rockfowl
1958 Patagonia, Argentinamarker Animal collecting mission for his own Jersey Zoomarker The Whispering Land Look (Argentinian Expedition) South American Fur Seal, Patagonian Hare, Vampire Bat, Magellanic Penguin
1962 Malaysiamarker, and Australia and New Zealandmarker Shooting of the BBC Nature series Two In The Bush Two in the Bush Two in the Bush Kakapo, Kākā, Kea, Tuatara, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Leadbeater's Possum
1965 Sierra Leonemarker Animal collecting mission for Jersey Zoomarker to be made into a TV series by BBC Section of Catch Me a Colobus Catch Me a Colobus Colobus, African Leopard, Red River Hog, Potto
1968 Mexicomarker Animal collecting mission for Jersey Zoomarker Section of Catch Me a Colobus Volcano Rabbit, Thick-billed Parrot
1969 Great Barrier Reefmarker, Northern Territorymarker and Queenslandmarker, Australia Conservation fact-finding mission, with possible material for book never written Great Barrier Reef species
1976, 1977 Mauritiusmarker and other Mascarene Islandsmarker Two back-to-back in-situ conservation missions and animal collecting expeditions for local breeding and Jersey Zoomarker Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons The Mauritius Conservation Mission, The Round Island Project Pink Pigeon, Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Round Island Boa, Telfair's Skink, Gunther's Gecko, Mauritius Kestrel
1978 Assammarker, India and Bhutanmarker In-situ conservation mission and filming for an episode in a BBC series "Animals Are My Life" episode in The World About Us series Pigmy Hog
1982 Mauritius and other Mascarene Islands and Madagascar In-situ conservation mission and animal collecting expedition for local breeding and Jersey Zoo to be filmed for a BBC TV series about the Trust's role in other countries Ark on the Move Ark on the Move Pink Pigeon, Rodrigues Fruit Bat, Round Island Boa, Telfair's Skink, Gunther's Gecko, Mauritius Kestrel, Indri, Madagascan Boa
1984 Russiamarker Shooting of the Channel 4 TV series Durrell in Russia Durrell in Russia Durrell in Russia Przewalski's Horse, Saiga, Crane, Russian Desman
1989 Belizemarker As part of Programme for Belize — a conservation project which aimed to conserve 250,000 acres (1000 km²) of tropical rain forest Belizean rain forest species
1990 Madagascar In-situ conservation mission and animal collecting expedition for local breeding and Jersey Zoo The Aye-Aye and I To the Island of Aye-Aye Aye Aye, Indri, Ring-tailed Lemur, Alaotran Lemur, Tenrec


1st edition cover of Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium
1st edition cover of Catch Me A Colobus
In his later life, Durrell wrote a number of beautifully illustrated books for children


  • The Overloaded Ark (Faber and Faber, 1953)
  • Three Singles to Adventure (Three Tickets to Adventure) (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1954)
  • The Bafut Beagles (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1954)
  • The New Noah (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1955)
  • The Drunken Forest (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1956)
  • My Family and Other Animals (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1956)
  • Encounters with Animals (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1958)
  • A Zoo in My Luggage (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1960)
  • The Whispering Land (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1961)
  • Menagerie Manor (Rupert Hart-Davis, 1964)
  • Two in the Bush (Collins, 1966)
  • Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (Collins, 1969)
  • Fillets of Plaice (Collins, 1971)
  • Catch Me a Colobus (Collins, 1972)
  • Beasts in My Belfry (A Bevy of Beasts) (Collins, 1973)
  • The Stationary Ark (Collins, 1976) (mainly non-fictional content)
  • Golden Bats And Pink Pigeons: A Journey to the Flora and Fauna of a Unique Island (Collins, 1977)
  • The Garden of the Gods (Fauna and Family) (Collins, 1978)
  • The Picnic And Suchlike Pandemonium (The Picnic and Other Inimitable Stories) (Collins, 1979) (with some fictional short stories)
  • Ark on the Move (Coward McCann, 1982)
  • How to Shoot an Amateur Naturalist (Collins, 1984)
  • Durrell in Russia (with Lee Durrell) (MacDonald (UK) / Simon and Schuster (U.S.), 1986)
  • The Ark's Anniversary (Collins, 1990)
  • Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories (Harper-Collins, 1991) (with some fictional short stories)
  • The Aye-Aye And I: A Rescue Journey to Save One of the World's Most Intriguing Creatures from Extinction (Harper-Collins, 1992)
  • The Best of Gerald Durrell (edited by Lee Durrell) (Harper-Collins, 1996)


  • Island Zoo: The Animals a Famous Collector Couldn't Part with (photographs by W. Suschitzky) (Collins, 1961)
  • Look At Zoos (Hamish Hamilton, 1961)
  • A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist (with Lee Durrell) (Hamish Hamilton (UK) / Alfred A. Knopf (U.S.), 1982)



  • Animal Pie, an unpublished book of lighthearted animal poems and caricatures, written in the 1950s [referenced in the official Douglas Botting biography]


  • (Foreword; the book is also dedicated to him.)
  • (Foreword)

Books edited by Durrell

In case of simultaneous releases in many countries, the UK edition is referred to, except for companion books to TV series where both the UK and U.S. editions are referred to.

Reference books

Biographies and other references

  • Himself and Other Animals — A Portrait of Gerald Durrell, David Hughes (1976)
  • In The Footsteps of Lawrence Durrell and Gerald Durrell in Corfu (1935 – 1939), Hilary Whitton Paipeti (1998)
  • Gerald Durrell — The Authorized Biography, Douglas Botting (1999)
  • "Durrelliania": An Illustrated Checklist of Inscribed Books of Lawrence Durrell and Gerald Durrell and Associated Publications, Letters and Notes in the Library of Jeremy J.C. Mallinson, edited by Jeremy Mallinson (1999)

Jersey Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust books

  • A Brush with Animals, Ralph Thompson (illustrations by author) (1963)
  • Okavango Adventure: In Search of Animals in Southern Africa, Jeremy Mallinson (1973)
  • Earning Your Living with Animals, Jeremy Mallinson (1975)
  • The Facts About a Zoo: Featuring the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, Jeremy Mallinson (1980)
  • State of the Ark: An Atlas of Conservation in Action, Lee Durrell (1986)
  • Travels in Search of Endangered Species, Jeremy Mallinson (1989)
  • Gerald Durrell's Army, Edward Whitley (1992)
  • Jambo: A Gorilla's Story, Richard Johnstone-Scott (1995)

Companion books to TV series not co-authored by Durrell

  • Ourselves and Other Animals: From the TV Series with Gerald and Lee Durrell , Peter Evans (1987)

Books by family and friends

Selected articles

Radiography and filmography

Featuring the subject

  • Encounters With Animals, Radio series, BBC (1957)
  • To Bafut With Beagles, TV series, BBC (1958)
  • Look (Argentinian Expedition), Single episode in TV series, BBC (1961)
  • Zoo Packet, TV series, BBC (1961)
  • Animal Magic, Early episodes in TV series, BBC (1962 – 1983)
  • Two In The Bush, TV series, BBC (1963)
  • Catch Me a Colobus, TV series, BBC (1966)
  • The Garden of the Gods, TV series, BBC (1967)
  • The Stationary Ark, TV series, Primedia (Canada) / Channel 4 (UK) (1975)
  • Animals Are My Life, episode in the TV series The World About Us, BBC (1978)
  • Ark on the Move, TV series, Primedia (Canada) / Channel 4 (UK) (1982)
  • The Amateur Naturalist, TV series, CBC / Channel 4 (UK) (1983)
  • Ourselves & Other Animals, TV series, Primetime Television and Harcourt Films (1987). Directed by Jeremy marre
  • Durrell in Russia, TV series, Channel 4 (UK) (1986)
  • Durrell's Ark, one hour documentary, BBC (1988)
  • A Day at the Zoo with Phillip Schofield, one hour episode featuring Durrell and Jersey Zoo (1989)
  • Gerald Durrell — Himself and Other Animals, documentary, Green Umbrella Productions (1999)
  • Gerald Durrell — Jambo the Gentle Giant, documentary, Green Umbrella Productions (1999)
  • Gerald Durrell — To the Island of the Aye-Aye, documentary, Green Umbrella Productions (1999)
  • Safe Hands in a Wild World, documentary, Green Umbrella Productions (1999)
  • Inside Jersey Zoo, re-release, UK PC Advisor magazine (2001)
  • The Round Island Project, re-release, UK PC Advisor magazine (2001)
  • The Mauritius Conservation Mission, re-release, UK PC Advisor magazine (2001)
  • My Family And Other Animals, the film version of his autobiography as a child (2005)

On the subject

  • A Memorial Celebration for the Life of Gerald Durrell (1995)
  • World of Animals episode on Gerald Durrell and Jersey Zoo, Channel One, Moscowmarker (2004)
  • The Wild Life of Gerald Durrell, BBC Four (December 2005)
  • Wildlife in a War Zone, using archival Durrell footage and examining the changes brought about by war in Sierra Leone, Animal Planet, May 2006
  • Archive Hour with Bridget Nicholls: Discover Your Inner Durrell, BBC Radio 4 (September 2006)
  • Fierce Creatures, a 1997 comedic film about a zoo in peril of being closed written by John Cleese, starring Cleese, Jaime Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, and Michael Palin, is dedicated to Gerald Durrell and British humorist Peter Cook in the closing credits, with their photographs and dates of birth and death.


  • The Talking Parcel, Animated movie, directed by Brian Cosgrove, Cosgrove Hall (1979)
  • My Family and Other Animals, TV series, BBC (1989)
  • My Family and Other Animals, Radio drama, BBC Radio 4 (2001)
  • The Fantastic Flying Journey, Animated TV series, directed by Catherine Robbins and John Coates, Two Sides TV / TV Loonland (2001)
  • My Family and Other Animals (remake), BBC 2005 film broadcast in America on PBS - Masterpiece Theatre in 2006 ( homepage)



Durrell quoted numerous raunchy limericks in his Corfu Trilogy which have not been documented elsewhere, and it is probable that some of these owe their origins to Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear and Theodore Stephanides. Gerald Durrell is himself the subject of a few limericks written later.

Time capsule

A time capsule buried at Jersey Zoo in 1988 contains the following popular quote by Durrell, often used in conservation awareness campaigns:
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 your dawns will have an orchestra of bird song and that the sound of their wings and the opalescence of their colouring will dazzle you.
We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you and enrich your lives as they have done for us.
We hope that you will be grateful for having been born into such a magical world.



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