He defines himself as an image hunter. A self-taught director immortalizes nature. After his documentary “Naïs au pays des loups”, Remy Masseglia and his daughter went to meet Mercantura’s new mammals before and after Storm Alex.
Director Remy Masseglia lives in Breuil-sur-Roi, in the Alpes-Maritimes. It was there that, with his one-year-old daughter Nais, he followed the footsteps of the wolves of the Mercantour National Park in search of beautiful images. This is how the award-winning documentary “Naïs au pays des loups” was born.
And after this shooting, the father and daughter decided to go on a new adventure: to follow, observe and film animals in the Mercantour National Park. These are the so-called “invisible” or even “ghostly” animals.. Why these qualifiers? It is simply not known whether they already existed in the valley or whether they appeared. The project is called the Wildlife Man Initiative and is funded by the Prince Albert II Foundation.
At first we wanted to make a good film with Nais and that ended up being scientific monitoring as a species specialist at the Mercantour National Park and the Prince Albert II Foundation!
The selected area is no more than one square kilometer around Breuil-sur-Roi. It is located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, which has been given the green light. Because for any shooting, professional or commercial, you must obtain a permit and comply with the requirements so as not to disturb wildlife.
Over the course of a year, 6 cameras, automatically triggered by the slightest movement, recorded the passage of an otter previously spotted by Laurent Maltier, a naturalist from the park.
Remy and his daughter also followed the mammal’s trail in the wild.
The rhythm is necessarily adapted to the little girl and her schooling.
With Nais, we always took binoculars, a bathing suit, armbands, sometimes an inflatable boat and water shoes with us, we turn our research into a game, we move from wolves to otters and ferrets, open our eyes to new things.
First observation: the animal is actually present in the valleythis is evidenced by cameras located in places valued by mammals.
The litter, about thirty scratches in all, was also recovered by the director.
European otter in Roya Bevera
© Remy Masseglia
You have to learn to read the tracks, to delve into the logic of the animal, into its habits. The genetic material will be analyzed in a laboratory that works with the Mercantour park.Remy Masseglia, director
And this otter, whose territory is about 30 kilometers, was present in the Roya Valley before Storm Alex, and after the catastrophe, it seems to have moved to the Bevera tributary, and maybe even further. How many animals are in this area? Genetic tests will tell.
Another June 2019 discovery: a small black ferret-like animal with a white mask.
It is actually a European polecat, a small nocturnal and very fast carnivore that usually lives in humid areas.
We saw groups of 5 small ferrets, which is rare among mustelids, we had 200 ferret sightings in a year.
Storm Alex has not altered the habits of this animal in any way, which continues to breed in the same area and may also inhabit other Mercantour sectors.
In an area that was devastated overnight on the night of October 2-3, 2020 by the passage of Storm Alex, fauna and flora suffered significant damage.
New mammals on Mercantura
© Remy Masseglia, Mercantour National Park, Prince Albert II Foundation
But nature resists. Remy Masseglia and his daughter Nais see it every day as they travel through their favorite mountains.