Since 2014 American Friends of Durrell has supported 13 specific Durrell projects. Click on the geographic location for more details.
Training for Tamarin Conservation (2015)
Tiny monkeys from South America are in grave danger, such as the pied tamarin from the region around Manaus and the four lion tamarin species from the eastern forests. These monkeys benefit from American Friends of Durrell’s support for Training for Tamarin Conservation.
Tamarins are small rainforest-dwelling monkeys, which are facing extinction because of loss of habitat. Many end up in zoos and rescue centers. Training for Tamarin Conservation brings together the animal keepers and conservationists from Jersey Zoo with their counterparts in Brazil in courses and practical sessions teaching tamarin conservation, including how to improve captive conditions for the little monkeys and how to release them back to the wild. A significant portion of course/practical content covers working with local communities to set up and manage protected areas, including creating corridors of trees linking one patch of forest to another.
Re-introduction of Ploughshare Tortoise
(2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Disney Conservation Hero Award to Juliette Velosoa (2014)
Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship (2015, 2016)
Madagascar Program Management and Coordination (2016, 2017)
Disney Conservation Hero Award to Ernest Bekarany (2017)
Establishing Durrell Conservation Training Madagascar (2018)
Strategic Development of Madagascar Program (2018)
Madagascar is Durrell’s largest Field Program, benefitting the world’s rarest tortoise, the ploughshare tortoise, and many more critically endangered species and habitats, such as the world’s rarest duck, the Madagascar pochard, the gentle lemur of Lake Aloatra and the Madagascar big-headed turtle.
With an annual budget of nearly a million dollars, a staff of 40 and operations in six remote sites, this program is partially supported by three American Friends of Durrell projects: Madagascar Program Management and Coordination, Madagascar Program Strategic Development and Durrell Conservation Training Madagascar.
Juliette Velosoa, a Durrell staff member, has conducted research and conservation for many years on the big-headed turtle, deservedly winning the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2014.
American Friends of Durrell also supports Re-introduction of the Ploughshare Tortoise, Durrell’s long-running effort to save this beautiful animal. Suffering from a history of hunting and habitat loss, it is now critically endangered by the illegal international trade in wildlife. Ernest Bekarany, who is head of the breeding center for the ploughshare, won the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2017.
We also support the Alison Jolly Madagascar Scholarship, an award to a Malagasy conservationist to attend courses offered by Durrell Conservation Academy. The Scholarship was created to honor Dr Alison Jolly, an eminent American primatologist who was among the first scientists to study wild lemurs, devoting her life to them and to the people of Madagascar for fifty years. She wrote about her lifelong love affair with Madagascar in Thank You, Madagascar - Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly. Alison was a great friend of Gerald and Lee Durrell.
In the Caribbean…
Saving Amphibians from Extinction in the Caribbean (2016, 2017)
St Lucia Racer Breeding Facilities in St Lucia (2018)
The Caribbean Islands have the largest proportion of threatened amphibians in the world. American Friends of Durrell is supporting Durrell's multi-year rescue effort called Saving Amphibians from Extinction in the Caribbean. One of the threats is the global epidemic of the deadly frog-attacking chytrid fungus. Durrell is working in Montserrat and Dominica to study the spread of chytrid and to try to control its effects by environmental manipulation. Other threats come from habitat loss, which is especially serious on the enormous island of Hispaniola. Durrell is leading surveys on the distribution and population sizes of amphibians in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to guide decisions on conservation action, as well as training local people in these skills. Durrell is initiating breeding trials for a number of species, as captive breeding will be a necessary tool for preventing the extinction of many of them.
American Friends of Durrell also supports St Lucia Racer Breeding Facilities in St Lucia, the first step in the recovery program for the rarest snake in the world, the St Lucia racer. No longer found on St Lucia, breeding stock has come from the few racers discovered on a tiny offshore island.
Re-introducing Pygmy Hogs into Assam (2015, 2016, 2017)
Disney Conservation Hero Award to Parag Deka ((2017)
The pygmy hog is the smallest member of the pig family and lives in the grasslands of Assam in northern India. In the early 1970s it was clearly on the brink of extinction due to extensive loss of habitat, particularly by indiscriminate burning. Gerald Durrell took an interest in the little hogs and eventually a breeding program was set up in Assam, along with many field studies to determine the ecological requirements of the species. Over a number of years captive-bred hogs were released into three protected areas, where they have survived and bred, carefully monitored by Durrell’s field team using radio-tracking and camera traps. Re-introducing Pygmy Hogs into Assam has been supported by American Friends of Durrell.
Veterinarian Parag Deka, who leads the field team, won the Disney Conservation Hero Award in 2017.
Not only has the pygmy hog been saved, but its presence is a good indicator of the health of its grassland habitat, which is also home to tigers, rhinos and a critically endangered bird, the Bengal florican.
Support for Animal Staff at Jersey Zoo (2016, 2017, 2018)
Butterfly and Tortoise House at Jersey Zoo – Build and Running Costs (2018)
The establishment of Jersey Zoo was Gerald Durrell’s first practical step towards his mission to save species from extinction. Today, more than 60 years later, it is hailed as one of the best zoos in the world, one that practices what it preaches – conservation.