About > Background
The great British writer and conservationist, Gerald Durrell, was a visionary, a pioneer and a man with a mission. He believed that good zoos could do great things in conservation, and more than 50 years ago he set out to prove it.
Gerald created a modest zoo on a small island situated between England and France in the English Channel - the original Jersey for which New Jersey is named. There he and his keepers began to breed the rarest of rare animals. He soon got scientists on board his 'ark' to study the species in the zoo and in the wild. Then teachers joined to train the people of the countries where the animals come from to breed and study them. Gerald's team and the local people began to work together to protect these threatened species and their habitats and to help them recover.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust saves threatened species and their habitats by engaging with local communities in more than a dozen countries and training hundreds of people from around the world every year. Usually just called "Durrell", its headquarters are at the wildlife park in Jersey, British Isles, set up by Gerald for the breeding of rare species so that they don't disappear forever.
In the five years to 2014 Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust received more than a million dollars in grants and donations from America, thanks to the generosity of Americans and their belief in the importance of its work. Supporters include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, The Turtle Conservancy, Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, several zoos and non-profit foundations and more than 200 individuals.
American Friends of Durrell was established in 2014 to facilitate contributions to Durrell. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the purpose of which, as stated in our Bylaws, is to promote and support the programs and activities of Durrell in its mission to save species from extinction.