The Princess Royal Opens Tortoise Tunnel At Jersey Zoo

On Thursday 13 July, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Jersey as part of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Tortoise Takeover celebrations.

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Photo credit: Max Burnett

Whilst on the island, HRH visited the castle green at Mont Orgueil castle, to see ‘Sanctuary,’ the giant tortoise sculpture Durrell is gifting The Princess Royal, to mark 50 years of Patronage of the Trust. Last year, HRH chose the design by artist Gabriella Street for the tortoise sculpture, which featured colours that were exact swatches pulled from photographs of The Princess Royal’s past and present fashion, alongside flora and fauna specific to her many trips to Durrell projects and Jersey Zoo.

Alongside the tortoise, trail newcomer, ‘Love to Run’, a stunning hare sculpture, made a special hop over to Gorey castle for the day. HRH also met Nick Romeril, the Jersey based artist who created the majestic sculpture. Whilst at Jersey Zoo, The Princess Royal was also able to view ‘Gerald Durrell and Other Animals’, which was designed by Annabel Hitchmough and depicts the life and work of Gerald Durrell and many of the animals that he worked with.

During the visit, HRH also officially opened the Tortoise Tunnel at Jersey Zoo, a brand-new state of the art enclosure for four giant Aldabra tortoises. The charity has been working with Aldabra tortoises for many years in their island restoration programme in Mauritius, helping to restore vital ecosystems that have been lost due to the extinction of native tortoises.

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Photo credit: Max Burnett

Reflecting on HRH’s visit and dedication to the charity, Durrell’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lesley Dickie, said:

“We were delighted to have Her Royal Highness visit Jersey Zoo once again. Over 51 years of patronage, Her Royal Highness’s knowledge, passion, and belief in our mission to save species from extinction has been an inspiration not only to the Durrell team, but also to our loyal supporters. It was great to be able to show The Princess Royal the finished sculpture whilst on the trail, ahead of it being gifted to Her Royal Highness later this year.”

The Princess Royal last visited Jersey Zoo in 2021, where she officially opened Butterfly Kaleidoscope. HRH has been a patron of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust since 1972.