Birds, Beasts and Relatives
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Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) moved from England to Corfu with his family when he was eight. He spent much of his time studying the island's wildlife and surprising his family by keeping lots of very unusual pets in very unexpected places. He grew up to be a famous naturalist and conservationist, leading expeditions to exotic places such as Argentina, Sierra Leone, Assam and Madagascar. Durrell dedicated his life to the preservation of wildlife, especially the less glamorous kinds, which he called 'little brown jobs' and 'small uglies'. It is through his efforts that creatures such as the Mauritius pink pigeon and the Mallorcan midwife toad have avoided extinction. Over his lifetime he presented many TV shows, and wrote thirty-seven books, including My Family and Other Animals and its two sequels,Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. He founded Jersey Zoo in 1959 as a centre for the conservation of endangered species, and in 1963 created the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust - later renamed Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in his honour - of which his wife, Lee, is still Honorary Director. He was awarded the OBE in 1982.