'On this speck of volcanic soil in the middle of a vast sea, a complete, unique and peaceful world was created slowly and carefully. It waited there for hundreds of thousands of years for an annihilating invasion of voracious animals for which it was totally unprepared, a cohort of rapacious beasts led by the worst predator in the world, Homo sapiens... In an incredibly short space of time, a number of unique species had vanished...' Mauritius, the green and mountainous island in the Indian Ocean, was once the home of the ill-fated dodo, and by the 1970s it still had many unique but endangered species, hanging onto their existence by their fingernails.When Gerald Durrell went to rescue some of these creatures from extinction, he experienced danger and discomfort, but enjoyed the adventures greatly. He spent nights in the jungle looking for bats and pink pigeons, and climbed near-vertical rock faces to find Telfair's skinks and Gunther's geckos, spending his spare time exploring the enchanted worlds of the coral reefs with their many species of multicoloured fish. By the end of his trip, he had an extraordinary collection of animals to take to his Jersey sanctuary from where the progeny could, in time, be restored to Mauritius.

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