ST. HELIER, Britain — Naturalist and wildlife writer Gerald Durrell died Monday on the Channel Island of Jersey, where he founded a zoo dedicated to preserving endangered species. He was 70.
Durrell, author of "My Family and Other Animals" and "The Overloaded Ark," had a liver transplant last year and never fully recovered, said Simon Hicks, secretary of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust.
Durrell's engaging humor made him one of the most popular authors of animal stories. He made 12 television series and produced films of his expeditions.
As a child, Durrell avidly collected animals, ranging from scorpions to eagle owls. He used to say his mother told him that his first word was not Mom or Dad but zoo .
At 21, he made his first animal-collecting expedition to the British Cameroons. Expeditions to British Guiana (now Guyana), Argentina and Paraguay followed.
His brother, the late novelist Lawrence Durrell, suggested that he write about his animals. He began his animal escapades in 1953 in "The Overloaded Ark." His 37 books, including the best-selling "The Bafut Beagles," "A Zoo in My Luggage," "Catch Me a Colobus" and "The Aye-Aye and I," have been translated into 31 languages.