When Bob Golding was 18, he wrote to Gerald Durrell who agreed to take him along on an animal collecting expedition to the then British Cameroons in West Africa. Golding is immortalized as “young assistant Bob” in Durrell’s book A Zoo in my Luggage.
You can read Golding’s story and see some photos from the expedition on his website here.
Gerry, Jacquie, Sophie (Durrell’s secretary) and I left for West Africa on a Fyffes banana boat shortly before my nineteenth birthday in December 1956. This trip was a kind of turning point for Durrell as he realised he no longer wanted to pass his animals on to zoos on his return to the UK but wanted to set up a conservation-linked zoo of his own. Indeed, soon after he returned from our trip he established Jersey Zoo which, together with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, has become well known and respected for its strong association with wildlife conservation and education.