Durrell Members vote in support of the Board of Trustees  

Thursday 2 May 2024 

Durrell members have had their say in the future of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, with the majority voting against the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) resolution*. 

The EGM took place at the Freedom Centre in St Helier on Thursday 2 May, and it was confirmed by Civica Election Services (CES) that 1,985 members voted in support of its current Board of Trustees. 

The meeting, which was attended by over 400 people, was a chance for Durrell members to hear from the Chair, Matthew Hatchwell and Honorary Director, Dr Lee Durrell as well as a spokesperson from the group that requisitioned the EGM. The members also had the opportunity to ask their questions to the Trustees and Interim CEO. 

Members who were unable to attend the EGM in person were given the opportunity to appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. 

Durrell has over 21,000 members, of whom approximately 16,000 were eligible to vote (members under the age of 16 were not eligible). Members cast 2,785 votes in total, with 1,985 voting against the resolution and in support of the Board of Trustees and 710 supporting the resolution. 90 members abstained. 

Matthew Hatchwell, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Durrell, said, “Firstly, on behalf of the Board, I would like to share my heartfelt thanks for your continued support during this difficult time. The EGM was an opportunity for us to hear from our members in a more formal setting and directly address any concerns or questions they may have. The Board respects the result of this EGM as a democratic process: we expect everyone else to do the same, as we would have done had we lost the vote. The turmoil of recent months must end here. We have listened to and will continue to listen to feedback about Jersey Zoo and are open and receptive to change. What the Trust needs now is to move on, learning from the past, and restrengthening our focus on vital work here in Jersey and around the world.” 

Dr Lee Durrell, Honorary Director, added, “As David Attenborough said, ‘the world needs Durrell’. And what Durrell needs now is stability. I am sure we will emerge from this period more united than ever, fully committed to the mission we all believe in. I am truly optimistic for the future of Durrell, and I hope you are, too.” 

Rebecca Brewer, Interim CEO at Durrell, said, “Starting now, our focus is on bringing staff together and moving forward positively as a team. The Trustees, Senior Management Team and I are committed to supporting staff and rebuilding the trust and unity of purpose within the organisation, which is so important to us all. We know that the outcome of the EGM is not what everyone wanted, but we are devoted to creating stability within the Trust and working together to build on Gerald Durrell’s legacy of saving species from extinction. We have much to look forward to, including the celebration of our founder’s centenary year in 2025, and planning for Durrell’s new strategy.” 

*The resolution: Because the members have lost confidence in the ability of the Board of Trustees of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to protect and maintain the legacy of Gerald Durrell, the Board of Trustees should resign and an independent investigation should be carried out into all aspects of the current and recent management's running of the zoo.