He had collected a bunch of animals that either he was unable to sell or didn't want to and got chased out of England because of zoning regulations one country at a time.
Some Lord or something gave him an mansion and some land on Jersey and the Durrell institute was born (and is still there today).
He set up correct biotopes for each animal and they flourished and it wasn't long until zoos from around the world would come to ask how he had luck breeding endangered and rare animals nobody had had any luck breeding before. "Stop putting them in cages you bloody fools" or something like that was his answer and the Berlin zoo did as he said, then the Toronto Zoo, then under construction and now every zoo worldwide does this.
One mad changed every zoo in the world. And the animals began breeding in zoos.
There have been lots of great naturalists, in my life I've read: Eugenie Clark,Raymond Ditmars, Jack Rudloe and others.
But nobody on earth did what Durrell did as we owe him everything - if he had never existed there would be far less species on earth than there are now.
When he was in his late 40s or 50s he married Lee who was 22 or so; he passed away a while ago, but to this day she runs the institute.
Durrell's childhood home on Corfu.
Lee Durrell and the 2009 Durrell lecture.
We really do owe him everything, yet few people even know of him. His brother Lawrence and sister Margaret became literary giants. But it was the strange little man, wandering the world looking for animals to save that changed the face of zookeeping and species management.