Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is a conservation organisation with a mission to save species from extinction. Gerald Durrell founded the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust as a charitable institution in 1963 with the dodo as its symbol. The trust was renamed Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in its founders honour on 26 March 1999. Its patron is Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.
Its headquarters are at Les Augrès Manor on the isle of Jersey in the English Channel. The grounds of Les Augrès Manor form the Durrell Wildlife Park, which was originally established by Gerald Durrell in 1959 as a sanctuary and breeding centre for endangered species. The zoological park was known as the Jersey Zoo at that time.Gerald Durrell OBE, author and broadcaster on wildlife conservation, was the founder of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. He wrote 37 books which have been translated into 31 languages. He also featured in several other television series and one-off programmes, which documented his work in Jersey and around the world. In 1945 he became a student keeper at the Zoological Society of Londons Whipsnade Park.
At 21 he inherited £3,000 and he financed, organised and led the first of several animal collecting expeditions. It was on these expeditions that he first became aware of the desperate struggle for survival many animal species were facing in the wild, and he became convinced that zoos had a responsibility to try to prevent further decline and extinctions. Despite strong resistance to his ideas from much of the zoological community as few people recognised the alarming rate at which animals were vanishing in their native habitats, in 1959 he succeeded in creating his own Zoo in Jersey, dedicating it to saving endangered animals from extinction. Gerald Durrell died aged 70, in January 1995. His wife Lee McGeorge Durrell succeeded him as Honorary Director of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and maintains an intense involvement in the Trust’s work both in Jersey and overseas.
Field Programmes Our field staff operate 50 projects in 18 countries around the world. We focus on islands, where unique species are under immense pressure, and on animal groups suffering the worst declines, such as primates and amphibians.