Catch Me a Colobus by Gerald Durrell

The books written by Gerald Durrell about his expeditions in to the wild to collect the animals especially the endangered species are eye-openers. It is difficult to fathom the troubles he underwent to collect the animals.

If he wanted, he could comfortably sit in his air conditioned office and passed orders, sent his men to collect animals from various parts of the Earth but he wasn’t such a person. He himself took these arduous journeys dealing with the government officials, figuring out ways to deal with the stringent rules and regulations in each country, finding a localite to help translate the language and even take his team into the interiors of the countryside.

It wasn’t easy for an individual like the author who was born and brought up in England to live in tropical places like Argentina, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, etc. for months together to rescue species in danger of extinction. It was his determination to go on one expedition after the other for the sole cause of conservation.

Collecting the species is just one part of the game. They have to be fed, cleaned, transported in good condition, provided proper care throughout the ordeal. And it doesn’t stop here. Once back in the Jersey Zoo, they have to be given a good diet which provides them with the right nutrients, a good cage/shelter, daily monitoring of their activities and signs of distress. The thought of breeding them in captivity was always on his mind because he wanted to restore these species back into their original habitats. And like any other conservationist, he was always low on funds…

I truly salute this man who gave his life for the conservation of animals. And even though he went through unaccountable trails and tribulations, he had the heart to write humorous accounts of his work and expeditions.

In this book, he makes you a part of his world…and you can’t let him go alone on any of the expeditions. You accompany him to Sierra Leone to catch the leopards and the colobus. Then you tag along with him to Argentina to capture the Mountain rabbit which was on the brink of extinction.

These are fascinating travel accounts but also bring forth the grim realities about conservation of species.

“The world is a delicate and as complicated as a spider’s web, and like a spider’s web, if you touch one thread, you send shudders running through all the other threads that make up the web. But we are not just touching the web, we are tearing great holes in it; we are waging a sort of biological war on the world around us. We are felling forests quite unnecessarily and creating dust bowls, and thereby even altering the climate. We are clogging our rivers with industrial filth, and we are now polluting the sea and the air.”

Gerald Durrell

This book a must read for Nature lovers and conservationists!


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