The Overloaded Ark
, written in 1953, is the first book by British naturalist Gerald Durrell
, telling of his 1947 trip to the West African colony of British Cameroon
- now Cameroon
- to collect animals for British zoos.
Its combination of comic exaggeration and environmental accuracy, portrayed in Durrell's light, clever prose, made it a great success. It launched Durrell's career as a writer of both non-fiction and fiction, which in turn financed his work as a zookeeper and conservationist.
The Bafut Beagles and A Zoo in My Luggage are sequels of sorts, telling of his later returns to the region.