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Jacquie Durrell (née Wolfenden) was born in Manchester in 1929. While she was studying for a career in opera she met Gerald Durrell in between his animal collecting trips in 1948. Following his determined campaign and courtship he finally persuaded her to marry him and become a partner in his lifelong ambition to create a zoological park where rare and endangered animals could live and breed safely to be later returned to their natural habitat. In 1958 the Durrells found the perfect site on the Channel Island of Jersey and opened their now world famous zoo.
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