For diplomacy between mammals…


The French Society for the Study and Protection of Mammals is holding its annual colloquium on 23 and 24 October in Lons-le-Saunier on the theme “Coexistence, cohabitation and division of territories”. Organized in conjunction with Jura Nature Environnement and Pôle Grand Prédacteurs, this scientific event offers conferences and debates about the wolf, lynx, badger, bear or even beaver whose presence in the Jura has led to concerted action to ensure that neighborhood and use disputes are resolved through diplomatic channels.

Mammals are a big family of humanity… “Our family,” says Michel Dubromel, former president of France Nature Environment, a resident of the Jura. A family with whom “we live every day, sometimes without our knowledge,” he adds mischievously in the presentation of the 41st Francophone colloquium on mammology (the science of mammals). Because coexistence is not always self-evident, not necessarily peaceful. Therefore, he proposes to follow the example of the fox from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.

In other words, getting to know each other, being a diplomat, also putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, be it the other person or… a beaver embarrassed by the replacement of stones during the waterproofing work on Franche-Comté. channels with metal sheet piles. And to systematize the laying of wilderness passages when laying the famous sheet piles. This solution, found in Baverance, near Dole, bypasses the obstacle to the free movement of animals. “The presence of the Eurasian beaver on the site allowed the manager, DREAL and the association to come together to find solutions and take into account the presence of the species (and many others),” explains Hugo Barre-Schaubet from the Dole-Environnement association in one of the many presentations at the Symposium on Ecological Continuity . When you know that there are 300 km of shipping channels in Franche-Comte, you measure the possibility of making mistakes, forgetting to think about beavers and other small and large animals.

A scientific, associational and university event, the symposium is held for the first time in the Jura at the same time as the festival Did you say predators? We will also deal with beavers in Little Mountain, where they have been living for thirty years in the Suran Valley. Living together with people is not always easy due to the impact of dams on crops, forest areas or roads. Vincent Dams, Project Manager at Jura Nature Environment, will talk about decades of observations and experiments aimed at “thriving in cohabitation” and “limiting conflict”. This includes, in particular, the preservation of dwellings moved away from the coast, or the restoration of coastal forests …

For her part, Deborah Koz of ENS Lyon will discuss the difficulty of beaver reintroduction in Scotland: “Planned and supported by scientists and government, it is compromised by its low success rate in terms of species survival.” and, above all, two parallel reintroductions, accidental and/or illegal, that stoke tensions.” Therefore, it will return to the conditions of environmental success and social acceptability, which depend, in particular, on “the quality of the decision-making process and the implementation of reintroduction”, on “the need to involve all stakeholders in the process and place these projects in a socio-cultural context”.

Black screen for bats

Marie Parachot from CPEPESC Franche-Comté will explain the importance of a black or dark screen to preserve the nocturnal hunting grounds of bats found in the Gravelle Caves Nature Reserve south of Lons-le-Saunier.

Three speakers will talk about the lynx, of which 80% of the French workforce is located in the Jura mountains, the rest in the Vosges and the Alps. Classified as “endangered” on the red list of threatened species in France, in particular due to the fragmentation of its territories. Thus, it is in a critical situation in the Vosges, strategically located between the Jura and the German Palatinate, which affects the ecological connection between these three massifs. Neyla Turak from ESI Business School talks about how the A4 and A36 motorways crossing the wild can help improve the lynx situation. Still it will be necessary to leave him alone, which cannot be defeated.

Louise Monin from the Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology of Nanterre emphasizes in her report that an ethnological study of the coexistence of lynx and man has not yet been carried out: “because felines are a cautious predator, little known to the general public, which does not have a strong imagination (legends, myths)? How are lynxes perceived, represented, described? To open up the field of knowledge… and perhaps lessen the destruction.

For his part, documentary filmmaker Florian Roche-Belle will offer a conversation from sound creation about nature and life in the human imagination, in particular about the poetry of animals…

The lion’s share for the wolf

The wolf makes up the lion’s share of the program of the symposium, which is devoted to a dozen messages and presentations. The “protector”, according to Michel Alpini, the wolf, since his natural return to France in 1992, stirs up disputes and divisions, “revives all possible divisions (urban / rural; experts / laity …)” and directs the actors . rustic and natural spaces, in order to “perceive and think otherwise, not one’s own worlds, but the World …”

So since March last year canine lupus all the way to Poitou, in particular Montrillonne, a country of extensive sheep breeding … Is it too late to foresee? In any case, Elodie Passio from the Rural Lab at the University of Poitiers is to present a “territorial diagnosis” intended to initiate a “waiting process for the return of the wolf” to “promote sustainable cohabitation.”

As a result of multi-criteria statistical analysis, an interdisciplinary study conducted in Meurthe-et-Moselle and presented by Gaspard Riem (Vétagro Clermont-Ferrand) aims to demonstrate that “it is possible to map the municipalities that need to be mapped”. warn of the possibility of wolf predation so that breeders take the necessary protective measures.” This study should be extended to the entire Grand Est region. And who knows, further.

“The situation is similar to 1992: the herds are not protected…”

Luna Gelab will present what the “humanities approach” to the question of the coexistence of man and wolf can be. The analysis of numerous content (press, press releases, social networks, etc.) led to the identification of different ideas about the animal in different social profiles, behind which “opposition is played out between different ideas about nature (wild, domesticated) and the role of man (manage , give free rein). But this opposition “is based on reductive and obsolete categories (nature/culture; wild/domestic) that need to be overcome in order to better reconcile them.” However, can we “understand the stakeholders to promote reconciliation”?

Be that as it may, according to Marie Abel of the Limousin group of mammologists and herpetologists, “the situation is similar to that of 1992: herds are not protected, their anti-predatory behavior is inhibited, and breeders are powerless to choose appropriate anti-predatory strategies.” “. She will present a predator impact assessment tool developed by professionals and the first results…

Providing “a tool of information and guidance for the state management of species in Normandy with the aim of reducing predation levels to an acceptable threshold and encouraging peaceful cohabitation with wild dogs” is also the goal of Clemence Meeust, a student of a master’s degree in geography at the University of Normandy. The region where the wolf was seen in 2019 and killed about fifty sheep…

Get out of the “sterile balance of power between supporters and anti-wolves”

Jacques Bayon asks: “How to write a story about a wolf? when unreliable sources do not distinguish between “scientific understanding” and “interpretations of a symbolic or even political nature”. Laurie Fredway, who has a master’s degree in environmental law from Strasbourg, intends to “develop a diplomatic model with the wolf” and prefers “the language of ethology to the language of a gun” in her conflict with pastoralism. She believes that “the destruction of protected species such as the wolf by the state in France” is “doubtful” and “mainly due to the instrumentalization of the plight of pastoralism in the southeast.” She proposes to get out of the “barren balance of power between supporters and anti-wolves” and, following Baptiste Morisot, proposes “to insert oneself into the language of the wolf in order to show him the limits in the use of common territories. In doing so, we will no longer make him a pest or a sacred animal, but a partner…

Other reports concern badgers, whose underground hunting by smoking has just been canceled in the Jura. Following a presentation by Yann Lebessel, President of Blaireau & Sauvage, François Dunant of the ProNatura Geneva badger group will explain why French badgers have something to envy of their Geneva counterparts…

There will also be talk of the jaguar in Mexico, the tiger in Nepal and of course the bear in the Pyrenees, which is entitled to three presentations.

  • Program, registrations and abstracts of messages here.

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