Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
The Seymour Group, owners of the Merton Hotel & Suites, has had a long and close relationship with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust since it was founded in Jersey by the world famous author and naturalist Gerald Durrell in 1959.
Jambo is one Durrell's most famous past residents. A magnificent sculpture of this impressive gorilla by David Cemmick was acquired by the Seymour Group at auction in the UK in October 2010, to commemorate the opening of the Merton Suites. Jambo was unveiled by Doctor Lee Durrell MBE in a ceremony on June 17th 2011, and is proudly on display in the hotel gardens.
A Gentle Giant
Jambo shot to international news stardom overnight on August 31st 1986, when five-year-old Levan Merritt fell into the gorilla enclosure and lost consciousness. Jambo stood guard over the boy, placing himself between Levan and the other gorillas in what many experts believe to have been a protective gesture. He later stroked the unconscious boy. When Levan regained consciousness and started to cry, the other gorillas panicked and the giant silverback led them away. Most of the drama was filmed on home video and extensively photographed by zoo visitors. The publicity on major news channels and newspapers helped ease public fears about the perceived violent nature of gorillas.