Posted on 2011-03-20. By anonymous.
Publisher: House of Stratus | April 2003 | Language: English | ISBN-10: 0755111907 | 178 pages | PDF | 2.12 MB
A new cover reprint of the classic account of Gerald Durrell's expedition to Mauritius to rescue various creatures from extinction, first published in 1977 and reissued in a foursome alongside the anthology THE BEST OF DURRELL, which was collected by Durrell's wife.
“A Must Read For All Users Of Planet Earth, July 28, 2009
By Matt Harnick "Discworld Junkie"
Of all the books by Gerald Durrell, this one may be the most important. Though all his books are generally about conservation of wildlife, this one makes its point very well.
The book is about a collecting trip from the Jersey Zoo for Conservation to Mauritius and the nearby islands of Rodriguez and Round Island to collect some of the most endangers species of birds, mammals and especially reptiles on the planet. Mauritius was, of course, the home of the Dodo Bird which was sadly driven into extinction by the intrusion of humans. The fact that at the time the book was written the Dodo was the symbol of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Fund also made this trip significant to Mr. Durrell.
everyone is familiar with the Geico Gecko from the television commercials. How many people know that the CGI model was based on an actual species of Day Gecko. All Day Geckos are endangered, but the most endangered one comes from Round Island. Thus it was fitting that the Geico Gecko be a spokes-animal to promote zoos and conservation.
The book itself is hilarious, but at the same time very sad. The good news is that many of the species collected, such as the Pink Pigeon, Golden Fruit Bat and Round Island Gecko are all doing well in stable breeding programs all thanks to Gerald Durrell and his team from this trip. The bad news is that the problems which brought these creatures to the brink of extinction continue to get worse.
The book is fairly short and has only a few chapters:
The Frugivore's Flight contains a wonderfully apt and hilarious description of life with a Jackfruit (elsewhere known as Durian) as well as an encounter with a not-so-well-educated customs official and night in the bush with an interesting surprise.
The Enchanted World describes the experience of snorkling on the reefs of Mauritius. This chaper is no so much funny as a beautifully accurate account of snorkling anywhere in the tropical Indo-Pacific region.
Round Island, though it has its moments, is the saddest chapter in the book. This is not because of the style in which it is written, which is full of Durrell's typical wry British humor, but for the island itself. Once a lush rainforested paradise, Round Island is now just a slowly eroding dirtpile with a few lonely palm trees. Most of the unique plants and animals vanished long before anyone could miss them, though they were recorded by naturalists of past eras. Round Island should serve as an example to the world about how delicate our planet really is.
Again, the sad aspects of this book are not really apparent until after you read it. Gerald Durrell is a master at capturing his readers and then, before they know it, teaching them something valuable while entertaining them along the way.”
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