Lee Durrell and Scott Guiver,photo by James Hope

An inspiring day

About twenty years ago I decided that I would never visit a zoo again. Last Monday I broke that vow for the second time, at the same zoo…..zoo? Actually, it’s known as the Durrell Wildlife Park, but what really allowed me to override my conscience is the knowledge of what sets this place apart from most other animal collections. Infact, I think it’s more appropriate for me to use the name that greets you as you arrive at the main entrance “Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust”.

Gerald Durrells vision was that zoos should not only be somewhere that members of the public could view and learn about animals that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, but that zoos should aid in conservation and be centres for research and education. This vision certainly became a reality on the island of Jersey and the effects have been far reaching. The Trust achieves it’s goals internationally by  gathering scientific information from field programmes and animals in the wildlife park, by successful captive breeding programmes for endangered species and by running a conservation academy providing a seat of learning for todays and tomorrows conservationists.

for more detailed information, please see: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ).

Lee Durrell and Scott Guiver


So, on Monday, my good friend James  and I met up with Dr Lee Durrell MBE. Lee gave us a guided tour of the “Gerald Durrell Story” exhibition and made us both feel relaxed, inspired and contemplative with her affable nature and utter dedication.

I’m not going to try and relay  Gerald Durrell’s story or go into great detail about what a great team Gerald and Lee have been or indeed the amazing work that Lee and her colleagues do now, but I will try and convey the abiding thought that I was left with. It’s the example that some people set to the rest of us, that their desire and dedication  to stick to their guns and do what they want to and what they believe in can make an enormous positive difference and not only that, can pave the way for many others to join in the same cause and efforts, it’s a legacy that will live on in this example, forever I hope, but then that’s down to the rest of us too.

Meerkat by Scott Guiver

6 thoughts on “An inspiring day

    1. Hi Susan, I didn’t know that, I try and go once a year to visit friends, I really love it there, perhaps we’ll cross paths in Jersey at some point then!

  1. I was such a fan of Gerald Durrell’s books as a teenager. I so desperately wanted to work with animals but life got in the way of the best laid plans. Smashing post Scottie!

    1. Thanks Adrian, it’s a shame Gerald is no longer with us, I would love to have met him, a fascinating and multi-talented person. Lee is lovely and I had an amazing day – which ended by exploring rock pools on the Jersey coastline which really reminded me of Cornwall!

  2. Wonderful post! The last time I visited a zoo, I was 6 — the Honolulu Zoo — and had to be dragged out by my hair by my poor mother, I was in fits and bawling. Since then I’ve stumbled upon the similar conservation and rehabilitation areas, which have since calmed me down, I think. This really sounds like an amazing place….

  3. Thanks Christina, I’m glad that you reacted that way, I did too – except I was about twenty years old, OK I wasn’t in fits but there were tears rolling down my face on visiting a certain european zoo, it was terrible and it still pains me to see animals in captivity. But Durrell is certainly a different affair and the island of Jersey is totally lovely, it’s like being in Cornwall and France at the same time and very chilled out.

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