The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was founded by much-loved writer and naturalist Gerald Durrell in 1959, when we bought the 16th century manor house with 32 acres of land that now form the headquarters of one of the world’s leading conservation organisations. Here’s our list of what we love to see and do at this special place on Jersey.
1. Expect to meet 132 species of animal, living in natural enclosures. Whilst you’re enjoying the landscaped park grounds, keep your eyes peeled – you may notice several species of free-ranging exotic creatures doing likewise.
2. The centre’s animal experts deliver six free talks per day, so you can learn about orangutans, fruit bats and gorillas (and Durrell himself!) during your visit.
3. Visit the statue of Gerald Durrell and his lemur friend, which sits in the centre of the park.
4. Monkey mad? Among the endangered primate species at Durrell are three generations of Sumatran orangutans; mighty ‘Badongo’, the Western Lowland gorilla and his family, a Madagascan gentle lemur community; Brazilian black-lion tamarins and silvery marmosets in open woodland.
5. Watch out for nest boxes in the trees – there are over 50 up in the branches, home to kestrels, barn owls and swallows.
6. Read the often hilarious stories of Gerald Durrell’s life and work. From his upbringing in Corfu in My Family and Other Animals to the story of starting his own zoo in Menagerie Manor, Durrell was a wonderful and witty author as well as a defender of wildlife.
7. Have a really wild night – stay in one of the park’s luxe camping pods for a few nights catch a few zzzs surrounded by the noises of amazing animals.