Gerald Durrell

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“Gerry” Malcom Durrell had a different and exciting way of life. He was born in Jamshedpur, India on 7 January 1925. He was the last child of Louisa Florence Dixie and the engineer Lawrence Samuel Durrell, both born in India as an English and Irish descent.

He was a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, talented artist and caricaturist, author of many books based on his life and television presenter. Also he founded the Durrell Wildfile Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoo (now the Durrell Wildlife Park).

When his father dead in 1928, the family moved to England. He enrolled in Wickwood School, but spent the most part of the time in home due to his illness. Seven years later, Mrs Durrell and her children moved to Corfu, the pretty Greek island for four years. This period of his life was very important for him because began to collect and keep the local fauna and suppose the germ of the books My family and other animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. His books are highly recommended, specially to youngsters and teenagers. Durrell was home-schooled by family friends and private tutors. One of them, the doctor, scientist, poet and philosopher Theodore Stephanides became his most friendly mentor. Another major influence was the french naturalist Jean Henri Fabre.

At the outbreak of World War II, his mother with Gerald and Leslie move back to England. He lived several difficulties, specially to find a job. But in 1947 began Durrell’s wildlife expeditions with a trip to Cameroon with the ornithologist John Yealland. The following were to Guyana, Argentina, Paraguay, Patagonia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Sierre Leone, Mexico, Mascarene Islands, Bhutan, Madagascar, Russia and Belize.

On 26 February 1951, Durrell married Jacqueline Sonia Wolfenden instead the opposition of her father. She encouraged and assisted in his studies and books.

Gerald Durrell was ahead of his time when he postulated the philosophy that a 20th-century zoo should play. Also he studied new species:

Salanoia durrelli from lake Alaotra, Madagascar, 2010.

– Mahea durrelli shield bug from Madagascar, 2005.

– Benthophilus durrelli todpode from Goby desert, 2004.

Centrolene durrellorum frog from eastern Ecuador, 2002.

Clarkeia durrelli fossil brachiopod from the Upper Silurian age, 1982.

Nactus serpeninsula durrelli snake from Round Island.

Ceylonthelphusa durrelli freshwater crab of Sri Lanka.

– Kotchevnik durrelli moth from Russia.

With seventy years, he passed away on 30 January 1995, leaving a fruitful life and a big bequeathed behind.

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