The world has witnessed the ascent of many beauty queens in the past decades. Three are crowned every year and their beauty is lauded worldwide, they are toured and wined and dined and bowed and gushed over…..and then they silently go back into anonymity at the end of their Cinderella ball. Some take to the movie industry (cough*Bollywood*) and find a way to make a living hawking their pretty faces (courtesy plastic surgeons).
Yet in this world, there are some real beauties. Of the lasting variety. The hatching of an egg, the first ramble of an otter pup, the release of endangered species back into the wild.
Im very proud to be a part of this world where every day brings a new wonder to be enjoyed and the surprises never end. In this journey of marvelling at the creativity of nature, Durrell Wildlife Trust has been my guide.Its founder Gerald Durrell is the youngest brother of novelist Lawrence Durrell.
My affair with Gerald Durrell (Sorry Lee! :P) began at the age of 11 with a simple reading of the short story “My Donkey Sally”. Told with humour and satire by a similar aged boy, it brought alive the island of Corfu and compelled me to buy an entire collection of the works of the author. I have never been disappointed. He has made me laugh, made me cry, pull my hair at the obstinacy of the beauraucrats, and appreciate the dedication of the naturalists. But most of all, he has taught me to view the animal world with wonder, realise that each animal and not just species is different. While the variation in human behaviour is not all that great, it varies across the spectrum in animals, even of the same species. How a chimpanzee can insist on opening the door for you, every single time or a tapir recognize you from smell alone……those are the things that leave me spellbound.
And through this process of collection of endangered species and their conservation, Gerald chronicled his books, outlining his experiences with humour, frustration, disappointment and joy. Each of the triumphs at the successful birth of a young one become your own, and the loss of a beloved animal leaves your heart bruised.
Gerald’s dream of starting a zoo ( stated at the age of 3) has not only been realised but has grown to become one of the first captive breeding program in the world. After his death in 1995, the trust as established by him was continued by his wife Lee and has contributed to saving many species, so far so that it is now the only thing standing between them and complete extinction.
Check out a few pictures (Courtesy of Durrell.Org) of such moments with endangered babies:
April 6 on BBC News:Eighteen Madagascan pochards - the world's most endangered duck - have hatched in a captive breeding centre.This brings the world population of the ducks to just 60.The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust lead the captive breeding programme.
A rare glimpse of a VERY young short clawed otter pup venturing out for the first time.
For the first time in eleven years, they have successfully bred the rare Lesser Antillean Iguana.
Black lion tamarin baby
One of their keepers caught them having a sneaky slow dance.Their names: William and Kate! ;)
A 20 day old Meerkat venturing outside the burrow for the first time!
To visit these cuties and their friends: http://www.durrell.org/
If you liked these pictures, don't forget to ask for cruelty-free brushes and products.