A Gorilla in the Guest Room : necessities of conservation of wild life


A Gorilla in the Guest Room

Question: How did the story demonstrate the necessities of the conservation of wild animals.

Answer : The story ‘A Gorilla in the Guest Room’ is the semi – autobiographical account of Gerald Durrell about the setting up of the zoo with the aim of conservation of wild life, in the island of Jersey.

Wildlife conversation is the practice of protecting wild plants and animal species and their habitats. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be around for generations to enjoy and also to recognise the importance of wildlife for humans.

              The story demonstrate the necessities of the conservation of wild animals by the dedication and determination of Gerald to set up a zoo of his dreams and also by his passion, love and concern towards the pair of rare species.

               Gerald wanted 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 wild life.” 

            He believed that common  animals should be replaced with rare and threatened species so that they could be saved from extinction.
          Gerald was a futuristic man, his worry about the wildlife conservation was genuine  and thus made steady, earnest  and energetic efforts to obtain the baby gorilla. He knew that gorillas might become extinct within next twenty years, thus when he got a call from an animal dealer  offering a baby gorilla for twelve hundred pounds, he could not say no.

         Despite his wife’s annoyance and lack of money, Gerald managed to arrange such a high price by contribution of the rich people of the island. Thus the baby gorilla  N’Pongo could enter his zoo.
       Gerald loved the baby Gorilla at first site. His child like appearance and playful and jolly nature won over hm. He narrates his first meeting with N’Pongo as –
     “He lay back in my arms and studied me carefully with an unwinking stare, and then lifted a fat and gentle forefinger and investigated my beard, I tickled his ribs and he wriggled about in my arms, giggling hoarsely, his eyes shinning with amusement.”

           Since N’Pongo’s cage was not yet ready, the author decided that he would stay in their guest room for a couple of days.
    N’Pongo’s grave, courteous manner and his rather sad expression immediately won over both Gerald’s wife and his mother.
   ” before long 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 ” like a small black professor in a museum.” But he was doing it so gently that there was never any danger that he would break anything.

      N’Pongo’s behaviour was so exemplary that Gerald’s mother ” was doing her best to try to persuade me to keep him in the house permanently.” 

            In a short period of time, N’Pongo made his way into the hearts of the visitors, who adored him for his grave and courteous manner. In the afternoon, N’Pongo was brought out to the zoo’s lawn where it showed off its playful antics. The visitors just loved to see his acrobatics.

         N’Pongo was growing up. At the age of two, he was doubled the size to that of when he was brought in the zoo. At adulthood, a male needs a mate, Durrell realised it could be cruel to deprive him from the companionship of his own kind particularly for the primates, the need is more. Without someone to play with, the apes become troublesome by trying their strength on humans.
           Durrell, being a naturalist and wild life conservationist, knew that to conserve and save endangered species, it is necessary that the inmates of the zoo should be able to breed. To prevent N’Pongo from turning morose and melancholy with a company of a female of his species, Nandy,  a female gorilla was brought in the same cage as N’Pongo’s. The two gorillas were temperamentally different from each other but seemed to adore each other.

       The story also reveals another part of the author, as a caring father, Durrell loved N’Pongo and Nandy as his own children. Having such a valuable rare pair of animals like gorilla, was an utmost pride for Durrell but at the same time he was always anxious about their health and well-being. Thus a simple and magnificent surveillance devices had to be installed in various parts of the zoo to locate the primates at any given time.

       Despite having all the attention care and love of Durrell and his team N’Pongo got a stomach infection which was later found a form of colitis. It was only four days, for Durrell to leave for France for work, when N’Pongo started to look pale. The only symptom was acute diarrhoea. He lost weight and stopped eating altogether. He was not even drinking milk and so no antibiotics could be given to him. Later his “diarrhoea was quite heavily tinged with blood” and this made Gerald and his team lose hope.

     To tempt N’Pongo, Gerald and Jacquie bought a bright green 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. This was used to distract him  and inject him with antibiotics.

       Gerald didnot wish to leave N’Pongo unless his health improved.  Luckily, when Gerald had to leave, N’Pongo started drinking complan. His eyes regained their lost sparkle which Gerald had been missing for past few days.

     Gerald ” 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.


Read more click here

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top