Just when Mr. Durrell was entertaining the idea of exploring animal conservation, he got a call from an animal dealer, offering his zoo a baby gorilla for twelve thousand pounds. Mr. Durrell managed to crowdsource the funds from the rich people on the island, and his zoo became home to N’Pongo – a playful gorilla with such courteous manners that he soon became the darling of the zoo, attracting admirers every day.
Four days before an important work trip to France, Mr. Durrell was dismayed to find that N’Pongo had fallen ill, so much so that he had lost a scary amount of weight and had stopped eating or taking liquids altogether. It was only when the antibiotic N’Pongo needed was administered through an injection that N’Pongo started showing signs of improvement, just in time for Mr. Durrell to catch his flight.
The story ends with Mr. Durrell looking at his ape playing in his cage, and wondering why he opted the path of animal conservation in the first place, for it came with its own set of anxieties.