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"The turmoil of recent months must end here"

Thursday 02 May 2024

"The turmoil of recent months must end here"

Thursday 02 May 2024

The Chair of Durrell has said "the turmoil of recent months must end here" after members voted against ousting the charity's trustees and opening an independent investigation into the running of Jersey Zoo.

The historic no-confidence vote followed an Extraordinary General Meeting in which the trustees of the beloved animal conservation charity faced difficult questions over animal welfare and governance, and were forced to confront allegations of failing to act on reports of bullying and sexual harassment of female staff.

Around 440 members attended the meeting which opened at the Freedom Centre at 18:00 and ended shortly before 21:00. Members were also invited to vote by post and online.

710 members voted in support, while 1,985 voted against – a result that was communicated by Chair of the Board of Trustees, Matthew Hatchwell, to cheers and applause in the audience.

The EGM was called after a group of members, a loosely-assembled collective calling itself 'We Love The Zoo', canvassed the 60 signatures needed to call for it, and saw members asked to agree that:

"Members have lost confidence in the ability of the Trustees to protect and maintain the legacy of Gerald Durrell. We call for the resignation of the board and an independent investigation into all aspects of the current and recent management’s running of the zoo."

Mr Hatchwell said following the vote that "the turmoil of recent months must end here".

"Starting now, our top priority will be on rebuilding trust and unity of purpose within Durrell, which has taken a battering in the run-up to this meeting," he added.

Dr Lee Durrell, Honorary Director and widow of Gerald Durrell, commented: “As David Attenborough said, ‘the world needs Durrell’. And what Durrell needs now is stability. I am sure we will emerge from this period more united than ever, fully committed to the mission we all believe in. I am truly optimistic for the future of Durrell, and I hope you are, too.”

Rebecca Brewer, Interim CEO at Durrell, said: “Starting now, our focus is on bringing staff together and moving forward positively as a team. The Trustees, Senior Management Team and I are committed to supporting staff and rebuilding the trust and unity of purpose within the organisation, which is so important to us all.

"We know that the outcome of the EGM is not what everyone wanted, but we are devoted to creating stability within the Trust and working together to build on Gerald Durrell’s legacy of saving species from extinction. We have much to look forward to, including the celebration of our founder’s centenary year in 2025, and planning for Durrell’s new strategy.”

More to follow...


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