Zoos – A lifetime of passion

Are you really passionate about something? I mean really passionate. So passionate that every thing from that moment on has shaped your life’s work – and by doing so has inspired others to do the same. It can only take one moment, one decision, one chance meeting or one encounter and before you know it you have become an advocate, a voice for a cause that you feel so strongly about that you don’t understand  why every one else doesn’t  feel the same way as you do.

Here are three examples of people who have attributed their first visit to a zoo or an encounter with  zoo animals as their inspiration for a life-long passion that in turn has affected both the  preservation of whole animal species and the mindset of generations of people.

Gerald Durrell (1925 – 1995) Wildlife conservationist, zoo keeper and TV presenter

Born in India, Gerald attributed his life long passion for animals to his very first visit to a zoo as a child.


  • Responsible for the discovery of eight new species.
  • Creation of Durrell Wildlife Park ( formally Jersey Zoo). 
  • Creation of the Durrel Wildlife Conservation Trust. 
  • Children’s Dodo Club. 
  • Author of My Family and Other Animals Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods
  • Responsible for many of today’s policies in both the housing of animals and zoo breeding programs.
  • Recipient of an OBE and many other awards.
  • Renowned television presenter.  





Lone Droscher Nielsen – Wildlife conservationist 

Born in Denmark, Lone’s first encounter with an Orangutan was when she was a 14 year old at Aalborg Zoo.


  • The creation of Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project.
  • Creating awareness of the deforestation of Orangutan environment due to oil palm plantations.
  • The successful rescue, rehabilitation and release of 100s of Orangutans.
  • Featured on Animal Planet’s Orangutan Island.





Steve Irwin (1962 – 2006)  Wildlife conservationist , TV presenter,  zoo keeper

Born in Australia, Steve’s  first encounter with reptiles was when he moved to Queensland and helped around his father’s small reptile and fauna park at the age of 5. This park was eventually renamed Australia Zoo.


  • Australia Zoo 
  • Crocodile Hunter – wildlife documentary 
  • Wildlife Warriors (originally called Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation)
  • Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve 135,000- hectares of land located on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.



I wonder what the world would be like if all us made what we were passionate about our life’s work.


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