Jamshedpur, April 15: Loyola Alumni Association dedicated a ‘Gerald Durrell Corner’ to spread awareness on conservation at Loyola School campus this evening. Gerald Durrell the famous conservationist was born in Jamshedpur and shares a rich legacy with the Steel City.
Gerald’s wife, Lee Durrell, honorary director, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, U.K, inaugurated the corner at Loyola School’s Knowledge Centre. She said very few people know that Gerald was born in steel city.
Addressing the gathering she said the corner at the school will help students to know about Durrell’s contribution to wildlife.
Gerald’s greatest achievement was the founding of the Jersey Zoo in 1959 as a center for the conservation of endangered species, and the creation of the Jersey Wildlife Conservation Trust (now the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust) in 1963.
Also present on the occasion, Father Sebastian, principal, Loyola School appreciated Loyola Alumni Association’s efforts to set up Durrell Corner. He said the students could easily read books on the great conservationist.
Loyola Alumni Association patron Ronald D’costa said the corner houses more than 25 books written by Gerald Durrell. He said it is the biggest library in Eastern India. LAA secretary Ramesh Talwar and Shavak Patel were also present during the programme.
Durrell was born 90 years ago on 7th January 1925 in Jamshedpur. His father, Lawrence Samuel Durrell (1884-1928), was a very prominent contractor who, after being involved in the building of the Darjeeling railway, came to Jamshedpur.
As an engineer, he built TISCO General Office, Tata Main Hospital, the Tinplate Co., the Indian Cable Co., the Enamelled Ironware Co. and undertook contractual work with them to build the earlier European Bungalows. He stayed at D/6 type European bungalow opposite Beldih Lake and describes it as sprawling and comfortable, with cool, shuttered rooms, a large veranda with bamboo screens against the heat of the sun, and a sizeable garden of lawn, shrubs and trees.
After the death of his father in 1928, his mother, Louisa Dixie Durrell (1886-1964), returned to England with her three younger children – Leslie (1918-1983), Margaret (1920-2007) and Gerald (1925-1995) Lawrence (1912-1990), the eldest, had already moved to England .
Gerald lived with his family on the Greek island of Corfu from 1935-1939 where began to collect and keep the local fauna as his pets and which was also the basis of his book ‘My Family And Other Animals’, Encounters with Animals, A Zoo in My Luggage, The Corfu Trilogy and many others.