Hello Alena and Patrice Longour,
First of all, thank you for accepting my invitation.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting your reserve, the Monts d'Azur reserve, located in the Haut-Thorenc area. What a magnificent place!
It's a complete change of scenery, and I had a feeling of freedom. I found myself in the middle of the wilderness, surrounded by bison, deer and horses. It reminded me of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa!
So I wanted to find out more about this reserve, your work and, in particular, your sustainable tourism project.
Patrice, you're a veterinarian and both of you, along with your wife, are passionate about nature.
Why did you decide to create this nature reserve?
For the past 10 years, we've been fighting for the survival of traditional farms and the preservation of wildlife. This is a major project in favor of the environment.
The aim is to create a unique natural site a few kilometers from Cannes, which reconciles tourism and ecology, far from mass tourism. A place where man shares a moment of complicity with wild animals.
He is not the master, but simply a spectator of the flora and fauna. We and our team look after the animals' well-being, leaving biodiversity to reclaim its rightful place in nature.
In Europe, which animals have disappeared?
Europe has definitively lost 3 of its five major species: the aurochs, the tarpan and the wild ass. As for the bison, its range is restricted to Poland, Belarus and perhaps the Caucasus.
Only the elk is still able to cover vast areas in Russia and Scandinavia. For smaller species such as deer, chamois, roe deer and wild boar, the situation was hardly any better in France before 1950.
Since then, agricultural abandonment has encouraged the expansion of forests and the return of these herbivores and their predators, particularly in mountainous areas. In our country, wildlife remains an element of leisure, yet it is involved in complex processes of which we are unaware.
It plays a major role in ecosystem dynamics. It is also a major cultural and social heritage.
From coexistence ... to cohabitation, how do we get there?
Human beings urgently need to rethink their place in modern society.
It's by considering large wildlife as an essential driving force in the dynamics of ecosystems and landscapes. That's why they shouldn't be seen as a constraint.
We need to relearn how to live with it, to give it a place in the landscape, but also to consider it as a profitable resource.
That is to say, to make a driving force for economic, cultural and social activities in declining territories.
How can we help you preserve this biodiversity?
The reserve receives no subsidies and lives only from its visitors. Of every ticket purchased by a customer, 40% of the amount goes directly to wildlife conservation.
To find out more about the reserve, click here!
Thank you again for the time you gave me. And I thank you especially for all that you do for the fauna and flora, and for us.
And see you soon, for a next time but this time we'll sleep on site in your great lodges.