Durrel Zoo, Jersey, Visit 2010

Durrel Zoo, or ‘Jersey Zoo’ as it is also known, is one of the most fantastic zoos in the world. This world-famous Zoo is focused on saving many animals from extinction and helping endangered animals. I’d heard so many positive reviews and comments about Durrel Zoo and simply could not wait to go and visit it myself… So in August 2010 I flew over to Jersey, Channel Islands, (from Guernsey where I’d been investigating rumours of Wild Cats) to do just that!

At Durrel Zoo, they have a fantastic range of animals from Orangutans, Tamarins, Lemurs, Otters, Meerkats and Wolves, to Aye-Ayes, Coati, Marmosets, Bears and Gorillas – and they’re just the mammals! Durrel is home to a large range of Amphibians (many different species of frogs and toads) and what seemed like hundreds of exotic birds; the Madagascar Teal, St Lucia parrot, Echo Parakeet, Nicobar pigeon and Blue Crane just to mention a few. And lets not forget the amazing reptiles, ranging from Jamaican Boas to Radiated Tortoises and Blue Iguanas.

At Durrel Zoo I spent the majority of the time watching the Sumatran Orangutans, they were so interesting just to observe and the environment they’re in at the zoo is so similar to their natural environment in Sumatra. I never realised how playful these animals were; they were acting so human-like in my opinion – the young orangutans were playing with some rope and when the sun came out, one of them pulled a blanket over the top of himself!

Here’s a video I took of the Orangutans swinging outdoors:

In the same enclosure as the orangutans there are a pair of White-handed Gibbons, called ‘Hazel’ and ‘George’ if I remember rightly. Mixing species together in enclosures is a topic that can cause much controversy. But here at Durrel it works – the animals are fine together. After all in the wild there will be more than one species of animal in any one place, so if anything it’s reflecting the animals’ natural environment even more!

Interestingly, when I was walking around the zoo, I saw several Emperor Tamarins out loose, scampering along the handrails; darting across the floor and running around amongst the public! It turned out that the keepers intended for this to happen as it gives the tamarins a larger area – they hadn’t escaped! These little creatures are only about 9 or 10 inches in length and looked so cute, with their ‘curly white moustache and beards’!

Aye-Ayes – these are incredibly rare animals and this was the first time I got see one that wasn’t on television. It was incredibly hard to see the Aye-Aye due to them preferring the dark and so being in an dark and enclosed building. The Aye-Aye is in fact a lemur, even though it has a skeletal third finger – this is because of its adaptations.

The Meerkat enclosure is amazing! There are in fact two different types of Meerkats at Jersey Zoo, the slender-tailed Meerkat being smaller than the ‘common’ meerkat. The big meerkat enclosure has a tunnel that goes under the enclosure with a plastic dome at the end which allows the visitors to be in the middle of the enclosure with their head at the height where all the meerkats are! A breath-taking experience!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my day out – it was brilliant and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different types of animals in one place – truly magnificent! I would definitely say Durrel Zoo ranked highly in the world’s top ten zoos.

October 27, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · Comments Closed
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