Tortoise sculptures shell-out at auction

Durrell are delighted to announce that the Tortoise Takeover Auction raised an outstanding £720,500, which will help build a new home for the amphibians and reptiles at Jersey Zoo. 

The event saw 53 tortoise sculptures and one hare go under the hammer at the highly anticipated auction at The Royal Yacht Hotel & Spa on Thursday 21st September 2023.


The evening started with a bang, with the first tortoise, ‘Kintsugi’ by artist Midnight, selling for £13,500. But that wasn’t where the excitement ended. 

The one-of-a-kind hare ‘Love to Run’, painted by renowned local artist Nick Romeril, sold for a record-breaking £100,000. This is the highest amount a Wild in Art sculpture has ever been sold for and breaks the Go Wild Gorilla record of ‘The Space Between Us’ by Andy Coutanche, which sold for £72,000 in 2019. 

The highest-selling tortoise was ‘Not Fast Food’, by Donna Newman, which went for £26,000, with the highest-selling young tortoise ‘Penny For Your Tortoise’, by Fi Marchant, purchased for £13,000.


Commenting on the excitement at the Auction, Alex Shears, Director of Communications and Fundraising at Durrell commented: “The atmosphere was electric.  The whole team at Durrell are completely blown away by the support we received for these beautiful sculptures. The funds raised will do so much to benefit the precious species of reptiles and amphibians we care for at Jersey Zoo and at our rewilding sites around the world. The fact that we broke another Wild in Art record, with the sale of the beautiful hare, is just the icing on the cake. 

We want to say our heartfelt thanks to the talented artists who bought the sculptures to life with their exquisite designs. We are indebted to the indomitable Charles Hanson, who once again brought the house down with his dynamism. 

 Of course, we also owe a huge amount our amazing sponsors. We can’t do an event like this without their support. A special thank you goes to our Presenting Partners Blue Islands and Ports of Jersey, Education Partners RBC and Community Partners BDO/C5 Alliance. 

And finally, we want to say thank you to the people of Jersey. You ran, you cycled, you took your pets, and you brought smiles and laughter to these unique sculptures.” 

The trail, which took place between 1 July and 31 August 2023, was a huge success on the island. It captured a whopping 11,000 app users, and a truly incredible 662,000 sculpture unlocks. In addition, each trail-goer walked an average of 17 miles. 

All of this, of course, is ultimately to help some of the most endangered species that Durrell works with. The trail was to kickstart a fundraising campaign for new, more sustainable facilities for Jersey Zoo’s amphibian and reptiles. These improvements will also support Durrell’s team working at rewilding sites around the world, who are undertaking vital research and providing frontline care to these species on the brink.