By Gerald Durrell

In cooperation with the Mauritian executive, Gerald Durrell and his workforce visited the island to assist rescue a number of the swiftly dwindling fauna from nearly definite extinction. This e-book recounts their makes an attempt.

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The landing was no more difficult than stepping off the back of a rocking-horse on to a nursery table, but the way even that apparently gentle swell could grind the dinghy against the rocks, made you fully aware of the bone-crushing results if you were to miss your footing and place a leg between the boat and the shore. However, both we and the gear were landed without mishap. Picking up our various baskets and bags, we followed Wahab and Tony up the slope between the strangely sculptured pinnacles of rock.

Our military force had brought with them, as well as torches, nets and a portable searchlight, an enormous milk churn of tea, without which – as history relates – no British soldier or soldier trained by the British can possibly function smoothly and efficiently in outwitting and defeating the enemy. Making sure we all had our strange equipment, we set off in single file along a narrow path through the waist-high scrub, so laden with rain that we were soaked to the skin within a hundred yards. 37 Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons_INS37 37 04/06/2007 17:38:42 GOLDEN BATS AND PINK PIGEONS Presently, the path dipped down into the valley and we were walking through a jungle of straight Chinese guava stems, interspersed here and there with a twisted, black ebony tree, or a group of Traveller’s palms, like neat eighteenth-century fans whose handles had been stuck in the ground.

He said, uncertainly. ‘Yeah, we’re looking for one,’ Dave explained, oblivious. ’ asked ‘Mr Big’, determined to get it right. ’ 31 Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons_INS31 31 04/06/2007 17:38:39 Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons_INS32 32 04/06/2007 17:38:40 MACABEE AND THE DODO TREE Again ‘Mr Big’ carefully examined Dave and the kestrel in close proximity. He closed his eyes again and then opened them, obviously hoping that the hawk could have vanished – it hadn’t. He was in a quandary. Was the hawk a figment of his marijuanainflamed imagination?

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