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Jersey Zoo

Coordinates: 49°13′45″N 02°04′25″W / 49.22917°N 2.07361°W / 49.22917; -2.07361
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Jersey Zoo
The dodo is the symbol of the trust and the zoo. Statues of dodos stand at the zoo's gateways.
49°13′45″N 02°04′25″W / 49.22917°N 2.07361°W / 49.22917; -2.07361
Date opened26 March 1959 (1959-03-26)
LocationTrinity, Jersey
Land area32 acres (13 ha)[1]
No. of animals1,400+[1]
No. of species130+[2]
Annual visitors169,000 (2009)[2]

Jersey Zoo (formerly Durrell Wildlife Park[3]) is a zoological park established in 1959[2] on the island of Jersey in the English Channel by naturalist and writer Gerald Durrell (1925–1995). It is operated by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. It has approximately 169,000 visitors per year.[citation needed]

Jersey Zoo has always concentrated on rare and endangered species. It has mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, comprising over 130 species.

Since 1964, the zoo has been home to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (formerly the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust).


Buildings at the zoo (photo September 2008)

The park is located at Les Augrès Manor, Trinity, Jersey, 5 miles (8 km) north of Saint Helier. It officially opened on 26 March 1959.[2]

The park is situated in 32 acres (13 ha) of landscaped parkland and water-gardens. The Trust has a strong commitment to looking after the Island's native wildlife, and large areas within the grounds have been designated native habitat areas. The extensive planting of flowering and fruiting trees throughout the grounds also serves to attract a plethora of wild birds and insects. Included in the former are several species of bird which used to be commonly seen in island gardens but have become increasingly scarce, including the house sparrow and song thrush.

There are over 50 nest-boxes positioned around the grounds, which are used by a variety of birds including barn owls, kestrels, swallows and house martins. Other animals which are commonly seen within the grounds are the red squirrel, bank vole, and the short-toed treecreeper.


Statue of Gerald Durrell with a black-and-white ruffed lemur, April 2008

Gerald Durrell began his career capturing animals for other zoos, but thought that the facilities needed to concentrate more on animal conservation rather than mere entertainment. He started the zoo in 1959. Durrell tells the story of starting the zoo in his book "Menagerie Manor" and others.

In January 2008 plans known as "New Vision" were unveiled for the future of the zoo. These ambitious plans had an emphasis on the notion of 'TopSpots'; places where the greatest diversity of animals are found such as islands and highlands. The plan included projects including African Bai, an environment mirroring the ecology of the African habitat that the western lowland gorillas would need to adapt to if one day it would be safe for them to be left alone in the wild; Mascarenia, to the mammals, birds and terrapins of Madagascar, Mauritius and islands of the western Indean Ocean; and eco-lodge cabins for visitors to stay in.

It was budgeted that the cost of the redevelopment would be in the region of £46 million over the next five years. All funds needed to be raised through public and private donations. But most of the plan was eventually cancelled due to costs.

In May 2011, a new visitor centre and restaurant was officially opened by Princess Anne.[4] Access to the zoo is not required for access to the restaurant. A webcam service has been recently developed at Durrell Wildlife Park. Cameras have been installed in the meerkat enclosure, as well as in those of the Telfair's skinks, the Livingstone's fruit bats and in the Kirindy Forest, the home of a rare and colourful bird collection. The webcam lets viewers to those species at times when they are often inaccessible, including watching the fruit bats during the evening when they are most active. In 2015 an infant silverback gorilla named Indigo who lived at the park was chosen to be the mascot of the 2015 Island Games which were held on the island.[5]



Jewels of the Forest


Opened in 2004, this exhibit houses various Asian birds such as:

Cloud Forest


Opened in 1999, the Cloud Forest is the first enclosure at Durrell to feature mixed animals, including carnivorous species.

Princess Royal Pavilion


The Pavilion was opened by HRH Princess Anne in the 1970s, and serves as a conference centre, and classroom. The theatre shows films depicting the work of the trust, and also exhibits artwork. It highlights the work undertaken by the Trust around the world.

The Gaherty Reptile and Amphibian Centre


The reptile house is the home of many species of reptiles and amphibians. The Gaherty Reptile and Amphibian Centre was so named because of a gift from Canadian philanthropist Geoff Gaherty. Around sixty percent of the species are not on public display. Those that are include:


Discovery Desert

One of the meerkats in 2012.

The Discovery Desert was opened in April 2009, and was designed to give the family of meerkats more room to roam, and ensure they don't dig for freedom. Discovery desert is a mixed species exhibit featuring other animals which share the meerkat's habitat in the wild.



The western lowland gorilla family has been represented at Durrell since it first opened in 1959, when they had only an infant female (thought to be male at first) gorilla named N'Pongo, who was later joined by a younger infant female gorilla named Nandi, and continue today to be one of the icons of the park. The current enclosure includes a good sized outdoor play area, and three internal rooms, two large on-show ones and a smaller off-show one. The current family of five is led by a silverback called Badongo, who was born in La Vallée des Singes. Badongo is the successor of Ya Kwanza, and has had two offspring with Bahasha, a male named Indigo and a female named Amari. Indigo has since left to start his own family. The remaining members of the troupe are Kishka (who passed in 2024), and Hlalli Kahilli a female descendant of Jambo and N'Pongo.

A expanded and updated gorilla complex is due to be completed in 2024.


Jambo was a gorilla who was born in 1961, in the Zoo Basel, Switzerland. Jambo shot to international news stardom overnight on 31 August 1986, when five-year-old Levan Merritt fell into the gorilla enclosure and lost consciousness. Jambo stood guard over the boy when he was unconscious, placing himself between the boy and other gorillas in what ethnologists analyze as a protective gesture. He later stroked the unconscious boy. When the boy regained consciousness and started to cry, Jambo and the other gorillas retreated, and an ambulance paramedic and two keepers rescued the boy. Most of the drama was shot on home video by Brian Le Lion, and extensively photographed by other zoo visitors. The publicity on major news channels and newspapers helped the reputations of gorillas.

Orangutans and gibbons


In an enclosure which was revamped in the 1990s the orangutans have a large outdoor play area for them to swing around. The enclosure consists of one large main house, with two extensive external islands surrounded by a moat. The orangutan family have been in Durrell since 1968, and come from Sumatra. Durrell used to have the Bornean orangutans, until it was decided that Durrell should focus on the rarest when the redevelopment took place. There are currently five orangutans at Durell; The dominant male is called Dagu. The adult females are, Annette and Dana. The two offspring are Mawar (who moved to Prague Zoo with her son Gempa in 2011)'s eldest son Jiwa and Annette's son Jantho. Sharing the island play areas is a female lar gibbon named Hazel and a white cheeked gibbon named Genta

Tamarins and marmosets


The tamarins are kept in two areas of the park, some such as the golden lion and emperor tamarins are best kept within their own enclosures. Meanwhile, others such as the pied tamarin and the silvery marmoset are allowed to run free in a small wooded area which helps them thrive.

Central Valley


The Central Valley, expands across the centre of the park, creating a natural barrier and water resource for local species. A£1 million project to redevelop the central valley, completed in 2002, has created a haven for kingfishers, bank voles, butterflies, dragonflies, and several species of waterfowl. During the valley restoration two species of locally rare orchid were encouraged, and first flowered in 2005. They are Anacamptis laxiflora and Dactylorhiza praetermissa.

Mid Valley

Since 1964 Durrell have been working with the macaque family, in the same location, just to the side of the valley. The family have bred well, though events in Sulawesi counterbalance the work by the Durrell team.

In 2022 Durrell welcomed a troupe of 15 Gelada to the park. They moved in next door to the Macaque family.

Lower Valley
Teal Aviary



Dotted around the Central Valley are a number of aviaries which house a selection of birds from different parts of the world. The aviaries are specialised to reflect habitat the birds should become adapted to should they be released back into the wild. They are large enough for them to fly short distances, or search the ground for food.

Lemur Lake and Pontoon


Island Bat Roost


A large polytunnel was built with used tyres in spring 2011. It is the new home of two species of bat. An additional tunnel was completed in summer 2017. It was also built using recycled materials and will provide more room for the bats to fly, in particular creating a circular flying pattern.

Butterfly Kaleidoscope


In 2019 a butterfly walkthrough tunnel was built and opened by HRH Princess Anne. Here visitors can get close with the numerous butterfly species which come in an array of bright colours and learn about the different stages of its life, along with some giant tortoises that are here all year round.

Tortoise Tunnel


Opened in 2023 this is a new temperature controlled home for 4 Aldabra Giant Tortoises

Kirindy Forest


A major renovation project was to transform the Walled Gardens into an area marked Kirindy Forest. Based on the dry forests of Madagascar, the area is designed to showcase the work being done with the native species. There are homes for lemurs, giant jumping rats, mongooses and a walkthrough aviary.

Kirindy Walkthrough Aviary

Conservation successes


Proof that conservation does work, some species have returned home for continuation of programmes to reintroduce them to their own environment

Mauritius kestrel

In 1976 there were only four individuals in the wild with one female. Durrell took the risk of taking a recent clutch of eggs and had them hatched successfully – rebuilding the species, almost from scratch. The conservation for the species has moved on to the next stage and its focus has returned to Mauritius, re-establishing the species in the community and ecosystem.

Przewalski's horse

With the newly established wild population of these species, originally extinct from the wild the zoo was part of the coalition of 'zoos' which together brought the species from the brink of extinction.

Work in Jersey

Outreach education in the community at the 2010 West Show

Helping the local species Durrell is working closely with local wildlife groups to help with the declining populations of Jersey's sand lizard, the Jersey crapaud / common toad, and Jersey's agile frog.

Local rare and declining plant propagation

The aim is maintain the genetic diversity of the locally rare plants. Currently four species are being grown in the propagation unit. Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry), Dianthus gallicus (Jersey pink), Anogramma leptophylla (Jersey fern) and Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax). Other plant species will be propagated as seed or cutting material becomes available. As some of these plant species are severely threatened, finding specimens for propagation will be a challenge.

Bird reintroductions

In 2010 Durrell undertook a project to reintroduce birds that once populated the island's clifftops, but have long disappeared. The red-billed chough is the first focus of the programme. There are also plans to do something similar with the yellowhammer should the project prove successful.

The red-billed chough became extinct on Jersey in the nineteenth century, but they have once again returned. Durrell has joined a breeding programme and so a group are being kept at Durrell to form a captive colony, with hope to establish a free flying colony on Jersey's north coast.

Durrell overseas

Although no longer located in Jersey, conservation is still monitored by Durrell in Assam, India and other locations. The species is still in dire need of funding and help. During 2008 some pygmy hogs were released into the wild in Assam, early reports show good progress with the species
Hitting headlines recently is some success in Grand Cayman with the blue iguana. Working alongside local authorities the iguana is being saved from extinction. It shows what can be done. In 2008 the project suffered a drawback when intruders broke into the complex and killed numerous iguanas, including juveniles and expecting females.
Previously thought extinct, (found when looking for something else), Durrell have recently teamed up with Madagascar to help research and study the species. With scouts unable to locate more individuals, it has become a possibility that experts will have to bring the survivors back to Jersey, using expertise from the Madagascar teal and Meller's duck to help the duck get back from the brink.
In 1995 it was dubbed the world's rarest snake. More recently the species have been relocated back to Antigua on some islands where they are free from predators and pests.

Completed programmes


Durrell Wildlife Camp


Work began on the Durrell Wildlife Camp[6] in early 2012, which will allow the park to sell lodging and services to visitors.

A wooded copse to the west of Les Augrès Manor has been landscaped to provide a nine-metre-square level wooden deck roughly every seven metres. These decks will house twelve geodesic dome-shaped, semi permanent tent structures and a separate shower and toilet cubicle for each. A further two platforms will house a communal structure and a pod for health and beauty treatments.

Durrell Wildlife Camp is described as a 'glamorous camping' resort. The site has WiFi coverage, and each pod has a hard-wired electrical feed for running AC 240 V appliances.


  1. ^ a b "Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust". jersey.com. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust: Press Information" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Time to be a zoo again". Archived from the original on 2 August 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  4. ^ "The Princess Royal visits Jersey". BBC News. 3 May 2011. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  5. ^ Indigo's page on the Island Games 2015 website Archived 19 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Durrell Wildlife Camp". Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2012.