A statement from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Chief Executive Officer (Interim) and Honorary Director 

A small group of people, including some former employees and current members of Durrell, has expressed concerns about how the charity is run. These concerns have been raised directly with the Trustees and the CEO.  

For several months, the Trustees have been working with the group to address their concerns and demonstrate that Durrell takes staff and animal welfare incredibly seriously and that the correct procedures are in place to deal with these matters. However, the group has now said it intends to call for an Extraordinary General Meeting*, which we welcome as an important opportunity to clarify the Trust’s position on these matters. 


Rebecca Brewer, Chief Executive Officer (Interim): 

In my new role as Interim CEO, it is important to be transparent about our response to these concerns, which relate to staff welfare, governance of the Trust, species choices and animal welfare at Jersey Zoo. 

Durrell has grown considerably in recent years; since 2017 our number of staff has nearly doubled, and we have increased our income by almost 70%. As a result, we have increased our spending on direct conservation in the field, science, and training. We recognise that rapid growth can be unsettling.  

As an organisation going through a period of change, we acknowledge the challenge of keeping our staff up to date on developments across Durrell and we recognise there are times when we need to be clearer in how we communicate our decision-making process to staff. Accordingly, one of our priorities this year is improving staff communications, both in terms of the information we share and providing opportunities for feedback.   

We have a responsibility to ensure that our working practices evolve with the different demands of a larger organisation. As Interim CEO, along with our new Director of People and Values and new Chair, Matthew Hatchwell, who has held leadership roles at reputable zoo-based conservation organisations, we want to ensure fairness and encourage open dialogues with staff across the Trust. 

The mix of species at Jersey Zoo has always been a balancing act, and we strive to find the right balance between species that we work with in the wild and those that will educate and inspire. We recognise the importance of sharing our plans and involving staff in the planning process for species choices at the zoo. 

The vision for Jersey Zoo in Durrell’s 2017 – 2025 “Rewild our World” strategy was firstly, to connect people to nature and inspire them to take responsibility for the natural world. Secondly, to support conservation through breeding programmes, providing technical expertise and conducting research that informs conservation action. This is still true today. As we shape the future direction of the Trust, I, with the Board of Trustees and other Directors, will ensure that Jersey Zoo’s role is communicated clearly in our new conservation strategy, which will follow the ‘Rewild our World’ strategy in 2026. 

Animal welfare is, and always has been, our biggest priority at Jersey Zoo. We are fortunate to have committed and experienced keepers who go above and beyond to give the very best care to the animals. They are supported by our on-site vet team who work tirelessly to ensure all the animals receive regular health checks and further veterinary care when required. The States Vet also carries out an annual inspection and Jersey Zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). 

I have been working closely with Lee Durrell and I know she is saddened by how a small number of people have used her late husband’s name to further the debate. Lee sits on the Board of Trustees, and we are working together on the Trust’s next chapter and building on Gerald Durrell’s legacy as we look to the future. 

Durrell's commitment to conservation is greater now than at any other time in the Trust’s history. As newly appointed Interim CEO, I am dedicated to finding a way forward that reassures everyone that the charity they know and love is still dedicated to Gerald Durrell’s original mission statement – ‘saving species from extinction’. 


Lee Durrell, Honorary Director: 

Healthy debate about management decisions and strategic direction of any organisation is to be welcomed – Gerald Durrell himself encouraged constructive criticism of the zoo. In recent months, however, the concerns raised, albeit well-intentioned, have infused the debates with diverse agendas and unyielding opinions, which have had a negative impact on stability and morale at Jersey Zoo, and could result in dire consequences for the Durrell we all love. 

I therefore ask those people to stop using Gerald Durrell’s name and legacy to justify their criticisms. Whatever outcomes they seek, Gerry would have been deeply saddened to see the damage done to the Trust to which he gave his name and dedicated his life.

Durrell is run by a team of dedicated professionals supported by a highly committed Board of Trustees. Together, we are developing Gerry’s legacy to the world: his unique approach to wildlife conservation, integrating animal husbandry skills, scientific expertise and a long-term commitment to the animals, people and places we focus on, including Jersey Zoo.



*This means that we are required to hold a general meeting for Durrell members outside of our scheduled Annual General Meeting. This meeting must happen within 42 days of a receipt of a requisition signed by no less than 0.5% of the total number of Members at that time or 60 Members.