A gorilla in the guest room :Narrator’s Concern of conservation of Wild Life


A Gorilla in the Guest Room

Question: Describe the narrator of the story ‘A Gorilla in the Guest Room’ as the one who was concerned with the conservation of wild life especially the threatened species.

Answer: Conservation of wild life is the practice of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be preserved for future generations to enjoy and also to recognise the importance of wild life for humans. In the story ‘A Gorilla in the Guest Room’ the author Gerald Durrell seemed to be very much concerned  about the future of endangered species.

  • Gerald’s Aim 

             Being a naturalist, wild life conservationist, zookeeper/and author Gerald’s Aim was to establish his zoo as a place that “must cease to be a mere show place of animals and start to contribute something towards the conservation of wildlife.”

   He believed that common animals should be replaced with rare and threatened species so that they could be saved from extinction.

  • Gerald’s selfless efforts – 

      Since gorilla have never exceptionally numerous as a species, also due to the political conditions of Africa and illegal treading of animals there and other causes, the author knew that gorillas might become extinct within the next twenty years. When an  animal dealer offered him a baby gorilla at much higher price as twelve hundred pounds, he could not turn this offer down. His wife Jacquie, was not in favour of it , while his mother reacted enthusiastically. Jacquie felt it was too high a price to be paid especially when  they already had a large loan to repay to the bank.

           Although it was a difficult task but Gerald managed to arrange twelve hundred pounds by the contribution of rich people of the island. Thus the gorilla could enter his zoo. 

  • Conserving the Wild life on the  Foundation of Love :

         Bringing N’Pongo home was Gerald’s first step in conserving wildlife. As his cage was not yet ready N’Pongo was allowed to reside in their guest room for a couple of days.

         N’Pongo’s child like appearance, his grave and courteous nature won over the hearts of Gerald, his family and his staff. The author narrates – 
” he was lolling back on the sofa while they plied him with delicacies, and the staff came upstairs one by one to pay homage to him as if he were some black potentate.” 

      When N’Pongo became bored with lying on the sofa, he decided to take a round of the room to examine something of interest “but doing it so gently that there was never any danger that he would break anything.” 

Gerald watched N’Pongo’s movements like a hawk, but N’Pongo’s decent behaviour captivated him. His behaviour was so exemplary that his mother “was doing her best to try to persuade me to keep him in the house permanently.”

            Soon N’Pongo became the darling of the zoo also. 
  • Obtaining a mate for N’Pongo – 

          To conserve and save  rare species, it is important that the animals of the zoo should be able to breed. To prevent N’Pongo from turning morose and melancholy without a company of his own species, a female gorilla  Nandy was brought and kept in the same cage as N’Pongo’s. The two gorillas were temperamentally different as N’Pongo was pro – human while Nandy was anti- human in nature, but after some time they seemed to adore each other.

 “N’Pongo’s bullying and teasing of her was all done without any malice, but out of a pure sense of fun and Nandy seemed to realise this.”

  • Concern for  Animals’ Health


    Durrell, initially considered it as an achievement to have such a pair of rare and valuable species of gorilla. Later , he discovered it a matter for concern. He was always anxious about their health and well-being and therefore installed a magnificent communication apparatus in the zoo. 

      He was deeply concerned when he learned of  N’Pongo’s first real illness. It remained only four days for Gerald to leave for France for work, when N’Pongo started to look pale. The only symptom was acute diarrhoea. Later it was found that he was suffering from a form of colitis. N’Pongo stopped eating and lost weight. He was not even drinking milk so no antibiotics could be given to him.

     To tempt N’Pongo, Gerald and Jacquie bought a bright green coloured watermelon. As soon as N’Pongo was given a slice of it, he displayed signs of interest. He took the slice and started to eat it. This was used to distract him and inject him with  antibiotics. 

     Gerald didnot even wish to leave N’Pongo unless his health improved. Luckily, when he had to leave,N’Pongo started drinking complan. His eyes regained the lost sparkle, which Gerald had been missing for past few days. Gerald thus “drove down to the airport  and caught the plane to Dinard.” By the time he returned ,he was happy to find that ‘N’Pongo had regained all the weight he had lost and was in his old healthy state. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top