Meet Gordon

Head Ape Keeper at Jersey Zoo

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Step into the grounds of Jersey Zoo, the wildlife conservation park started in 1959 by world-famous conservationist and author Gerald Durrell and you’ll feel as if you’ve discovered an island within an island. A natural home for rare and endangered species, Jersey Zoo is the base for the international conservation projects continued by the Durrell Conservation Trust. For Gordon Hunt, head ape-keeper, it’s a chance to make a real difference in the lives of some of the world’s rarest primates.

Islands are special places, they tend to harbour a lot of rare species naturally because of their unique habitats. It’s one of the reasons why Gerald Durrell chose Jersey to set up his conservation park. I think being on the island of Jersey makes Durrell more of a community, an island within an island. There’s a family feel to it.

Jersey Zoo was a natural fit for me. I’ve always loved the wild and nature.  All the animals are individuals with their own little traits, particularly the great apes. They’re so close to people that you naturally get attached and want to make their lives pleasant - our enclosures are open and create environments that are very close to their natural habitats.  

We want people to reconnect with nature, to become more conservation-minded. Our island mentality means we want to preserve what we have around us - including the rare wildlife that we have thanks to Gerald Durrell. It’s a vocation, not a job, and we believe in what it’s all about. After all, these are some of the rarest primates on earth. I feel incredibly lucky to be so close to them. They’re the reason we do what we do.

I’ve been in Jersey since I was 10, and for me the island is home. Where else can I do what I do and still have the opportunity to spend a few hours surfing, or fishing, or out and about on beaches or in the woods? For such a small island it has a lot crammed into it. And if you want to make use of it then all you have to do is get outdoors and enjoy it.

You've met some of our islanders

Now see the island for yourself. To help you plan your island break in Jersey, we’d like to stay in touch.