From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

Naturalist Gerald Durrell, 70, a
longtime resident of St. Helier, France, died
January 30 in London of complications after a
liver transplant. Younger brother of the late
novelist Lawrence Durrell, Gerald was actu-
ally the more prolific author, producing 37
titles including many best-sellers, from T h e
Overloaded Ark (1952) to The Aye-Aye And I
(1993). My Family And Other Animals
(1956), a memoir of his boyhood on the
Greek island of Corfu, influenced a genera-
tion of young readers including the editor of
ANIMAL PEOPLE, who got a copy as a
birthday gift at age 8 and read it to tatters.
Born in Jamshedpur, India, Durrell’s first
word was reputedly “zoo.” He joined the
Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, England––

one of the first to feature natural habitat
exhibits––as an apprentice keeper at age 20,
in 1945. A year later Durrell used a small
inheritance to finance collecting trips to
Africa and South America. “But it was all
too much like the white slave trade, packing
25 parrots inside a small cage. I had no stom-
ach for it,” he later recalled. Durrell eventu-
ally led a global crusade to reform collecting
practices and change zoos from entertain-
ment-oriented menageries to lifeboats for
endangered species. He began his own zoo
on the Isle of Jersey in 1959, to show the
world how; formed the wildlife video com-
pany Survival East Anglia; and in 1964 con-
verted his zoo into the Jersey Wildlife
Preservation Trust, a research and education
center with 15,000 dues-paying members,
hosting 200,000 visitors per year. “There are
a lot of bad zoos,” Durrell observed. “But
when Florence Nightingale was confronted
by bad hospitals, she didn’t say, ‘We must
close them down.’ She said, ‘Why not make
them better?’” His work will be continued by
his second wife, zoologist Lee McGeorge
Friends of the Earth campaigns
directorAndrew Lees, 46, of London,
England, died January 5 from a heart attack
while investigating the British-owned Rio
Tinto Zinc mining project near Fort Dauphin,
Madagascar. Friends of the Earth has asked
the Madagascar government for a two-year
moratorium on further mining development.
“The best possible thing that could come
from this very sad tragedy is that Andrew’s
material could be used in some way to pro-
mote awareness about the threat and to pro-
tect this very beautiful area,” said Lees’
companion, genetic researcher Chris Orengo,
who flew to Madagascar after he was report-
ed missing to assist in the search for his
Max Schnapp, 90, founder of the
Pet Owners Protective Association, d i e d
after a long illness on January 10 in
Brooklyn, New York. Born in Austria-
Hungary, Schnapp joined the Socialist Party
just after World War I. Dodging repression,
he fled to New York in 1923, where he
worked as a knitting machine mechanic. “In
the 1930s he led strikes and organized factory
workers for the International Ladies Garment
Workers Union,” The New York Times
recalled. “He also belonged to the
International Workers Order and taught
unemployed tenants how to organize against
evictions and homelessness.” Disillusioned
by corruption, he left the labor struggle in
the early 1950s, to crusade for animal protec-
tion. “He joined the Sierra Club to save
endangered species,” The Times c o n t i n u e d .
“He fought for humane kosher slaughter.
Eventually he became involved in just about
every aspect of the humane movement.”
Organizing POPA in 1970, Schnapp “lob-
bied for a law that barred the eviction of
elderly tenants with pets from rent-controlled
apartments, and for an end to the sale of
shelter animals for research. He also helped
to persuade department stores to drop plans
for selling dogskin coats, imported from
South Africa. For many years he was a high-
ly visible, vociferous presence at hearings
and meetings” about anything pertaining to
animal regulation in New York City.
Schnapp is survived by his second wife,
Paulette Asche Schnapp, whom he married
in 1948; his daughter Charlotte Klein; three
grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Horse rescuer Art Thompson, 76,
died of heart disease on January 12 in
Palatine, Illinois. A former jockey, who
held various jobs over the years at Arlington
International Racecourse, Thompson rented
a stable in 1959 and began adopting worn-out
race horses. According to Chicago Tribune
stringer Stefanie Cascio, “Thompson’s vol-
unteer effort at times meant dipping into his
retirement check to provide the rent, feed,
and hay when donations fell short. He started
out by taking in just two horses and at one
time had as many as 22, ranging in age from
seven to 37.” Longtime volunteers Tom
Barrett, Felicia Benson, and Babe Benson
spent up to six hours a day helping look after
the horses, 10 of whom remained at the sta-
ble at Thompson’s death. Arlington
International Racecourse owner Richard
Duchossois has pledged to keep the horses at
his own Hill ‘n Dale Farm, in Barrington.
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