In 1985 Gerald Durrell visited Taimyr

In 1985 Gerald Durrell visited Taimyr

September 15, 2021

In July 1985, the English naturalist writer Gerald Durrell, who by that time had already written three dozen books about the living world of the planet, came to Taimyr.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. He worked on the picture Durrell in Russia, which was filmed in thirteen reserves of the USSR by documentary filmmakers of the Canadian television company Primemedia Productions. The authors and presenters – Durrell and his wife Lee, a biologist and ornithologist – were interested in the nature conservation system in our country.

The last episode, which was called Endless Day, was filmed in the Taimyrsky Biosphere Reserve and the Bikada Wildlife Refuge, where musk oxen imported from Canada and Alaska lived.

Foreign guests were assisted by the staff of the reserve and the Research Institute of Agriculture of the Far North located in Norilsk. The guest even received a gift – a mammoth tusk with the inscription: “To the great naturalist Durrell and his charming wife Lee from the reserve service of the Russian North”.

The shooting was great, although there were enough difficulties, and Durrell was no longer young. Subsequently, in his book, he wrote about that journey:

“My thighs, which have served 60 years without fail, recently played a trick on me. They let me down while filming a series of TV programs in Russia and finally went belly up when we were in the tundra, some nine hundred miles from the North Pole. Our leader found a wonderful lawn with miniature flowers about five hundred yards from the camp, and we wanted to photograph that magical colored carpet. On the surface of the tundra, consisting of permafrost, covered with moss and dwarf shrubs, it is no safer to walk than on the ice surface. I told our leader that because of the terrible pain I simply would not be able to walk such a distance; he left dejected and talked about something with the Russians for a long time. And then they brought a helicopter to the camp and carefully drove me five hundred yards away, and there, they carried me out of the helicopter and laid me down among the flowers. When I shot everything I wanted, they again carefully put me in the helicopter and took me to the camp. It was the only time in my life when I felt like Elizabeth Taylor”.

In the last issue of the History spot photo project, we told that Norilsk was one of the leaders in consumer services in the Krasnoyarsk region.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

September 15, 2021

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