This is the story of how Gerald Durrell's dream of owning his own zoo grew into the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, a major force in wildlife conservation. The author of "My Family and Other Animals" has collected many rare and exotic animals to save them from extinction.
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The ark in question isn't Noah's, although the intention is the same: to construct a shelter for endangered species. In this frothy, sometimes hilarious memoir, Durrell (How to Shoot an Amateur Naturalist, 1985; 18 other books) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Jersey Zoological Park, which he founded and still directs on the island of Jersey in the British Channel. As Durrell explains in his arch, very British accent (everyone ``sallies forth'' here), his zoo is different: It exists to establish breeding colonies for endangered species; it contains an international training center for ``captive-breeding'' programs; and David Niven officiated at the wedding of its two randy gorillas. Celebrities pop up in these pages almost as frequently as do critters: Princess Grace, Richard Adams, Princess Anne (the latter being the butt, so to speak, of Durrell's funniest anecdote, when he remarks to the princess, walking past a cage of mandrills- -famous for their blue-and-scarlet posterior--``Wonderful animal, ma'am. Wouldn't you like to have a behind like that?''). Fund- raising in America and an effort to breed pygmy hogs prove equally funny, but also painful in their suggestions of bureaucratic roadblocks and public indifference--both responsible, as Durrell makes clear, for the irrevocable loss of many species. Durrell's loving descriptions of animal antics--such as the potentially dangerous chimps who dropped in on his mother one day (``but dear, they came to tea,'' she says) are as enjoyable as ever; what sets this apart is the apelike behavior of so many of the humans. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Library Journal:
A prolific author who never fails to be entertaining, Durrell brings us up to date on his Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. Ever since he was six years old, Durrell knew he wanted to have his own zoo. How he accomplished that--and became a respected naturalist in the process--will delight readers. Demonstrating a talent for presenting strong conservation issues in a humorous and captivating way, Durrell covers not only the development of his private zoo but the associated education activities as well (including a school for conservationists from foreign countries). Dedicated to the idea that zoos need not be a "sterile Victorian menagerie," he has earned the respect of colleagues worldwide in showing how zoos can be a vital force in the conservation and reintroduction of threatened species to their native environments. Readers will also enjoy such amusing incidents as a visit from Princess Anne and the chimps that came to dinner. A title to put on your reading list for a lighthearted romp through the animal kingdom.
- Edell Marie Peters, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Collins. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0002154986 100% satisfaction money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # Z0002154986ZN
Book Description Collins, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110002154986