Sixty years of saving species

Posted: 26th March, 2019

On this day sixty years ago a pioneering zoo opened its gate, the beginning of the global charity that is now the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Since its inception Durrell has had the same four-word mission statement, ‘Saving Species from Extinction’

Durrell's Chief Executive, Dr Lesley Dickie said, “Durrell has always punched above its weight and we are a truly global organisation. No other zoo-based conservation organisation in the world puts as high a % of total operating budget into conservation as Durrell, and we are proud that we continue to put species first. Our impact is felt far beyond our own shores and we can prove that conservation works, when given the resources and time, it absolutely works.”

Durrell is proud of its many achievements over the past 60 years which include:

  • thousands of animals released into the wild, of 26 species, including; 45,458 agile frogs, 361 pink pigeons, 174 mountain chicken frogs, 116 pygmy hogs, 42 red-billed choughs and 21 Madagascar pochards
  • 5,500 conservationists trained from 142 countries around the world
  • 435,445 hectares of habitat protected (equal to 609,867 football pitches).
  • 382 scientific publications produced

Lesley continued, “We are gratified at what we have achieved in the last 60 years, but we want to do even more, and with the help of our current and future supporters, that is exactly what we will do. Our beautiful planet needs us all to step up and take action, so we invite everyone to celebrate our 60th year by getting involved in our ‘Rewild our World’ strategy and supporting us in whatever way they can.”

The ‘Rewild our World’ strategy sets out four headline goals to achieve by 2025, when the zoo’s founder, Gerald Durrell, would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

In 2025 Durrell wants to see:

•           10 ecosystems across the world’s major biomes rewilded

•           100 threatened species on the road to recovery

•           500 endangered species projects working more effectively

•           1,000,000 people better connected with nature

Commenting on how the zoo has transformed over the years, Durrell's Honorary Director, Dr Lee Durrell said, “Jersey Zoo looks very different now from the modest little zoo that Gerald Durrell started six decades ago. But if he were alive today, he would recognise it by the same dedication and passion of our staff for the conservation mission and by the well-being of our animals. He would be thrilled that our current ‘Rewild our World’ strategy was inspired by the philosophy, values and approach to conservation he and his team expounded so long ago and would urge us to get on with the job!”

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