Meeting with the Faron Fauverie

Monday September 16, 2019, the president of our association went to meet the managers of the Faron animal park (Toulon - 83). An exchange concerning animal welfare, the difficulties for the owners to arrange the park according to their wishes and the future of the animals present. An exchange of more than two hours and a guided tour of the park convinced our president that wildcat wishes to change for the better.


  The Fauverie du Faron, in evolution:  


It was one of the most enriching meetings we have had since the launch of our association and a real surprise. The new owners of the fauverie, Didier and Vanessa, took over from Didier's father, who himself took it over from his own father. A family story spanning three generations, and more. One thing is certain, this couple loves animals and wishes only one thing, their good.

Not everything is rosy, they recognize it. “Since 2,017, we have committed to changing all animal enclosures. Some of them were living in unacceptable conditions. It may have been correct 20 or 30 years ago, but in our view, it could not work. Recognizes Didier. “Many pens have grown and all have enough to stimulate. It is no longer a question of taking an animal, of enclosing it in a cage, of feeding it and basta, we take care of it more. We made the choice to take our animals, they never asked to be born here, we have to take care of them until their death. As to whether the old individuals could be moved to other establishments, the answer is simple: no. It is not because the animals are old, that they can no longer reproduce or that they are sick that they should be euthanized. One of our jaguars, Alien, had a stroke a few years ago and suffers from cataracts, it is not that we love it less than the others and that we will try to get rid of it. Added his wife.

"We have plans to further expand some enclosures." That of the hamadryas, for example, has remained unchanged since the bears. Admittedly, it was designed to stimulate baboons, but the size remains the same. "There is land behind, greenery, which we have never used, we would like to enlarge it and give it to them." The enclosure would almost double in size. It is the same with the aviary for parakeets, which should double in volume or with Max's enclosure, the serval, deposited by a Russian who could not keep it and who was in a very sad state of health at these debut.

“We would like to achieve many things, we have many projects. Activities to educate children about poaching, to educate children about the plight of bees ... But all this takes time and money, which we do not have. We have nevertheless created a mini educational farm where children can meet a dwarf donkey, goats and chickens. In addition, the wildcat being located on Mont Faron, being a protected area, getting the agreements to enlarge or change anything turns out to be a real obstacle course. But we are still looking for a mason to help us in our progress and our future enclosures. We would also like to be able to obtain grants to help us carry out these projects. Without money, without authorization, without labor, nothing is achievable. Explains Vanessa.

As for the issue of captivity, the couple agreed: "These are animals that were born in captivity, we cannot put them back in the wild as if nothing had happened. In addition, reintroducing tigers, lions or panthers that are born from several generations in captivity is difficult. Of course if we were told tomorrow that animals can live in the wild without danger, we would be the first to try to put them back there, but that is not the case. Captivity is not ideal for them, but it is one solution among others that allows them to live. Their natural environment continues to be destroyed by humans, animals are slaughtered or hunted. The most glaring example is that of Radja, our love leopard. Wild, there are less than 50 individuals, here he is 25 years old. It would be our dream to be able to participate in the repopulation of this species. Besides, they take the opportunity to explain that they would like, in each enclosure, to reproduce the animal's natural environment. No longer with paintings on the wall, but really with vegetation and company. They would like to put a waterfall for some panthers, for example, trees for other species ...

As far as training is concerned, they are against it. At the time, the wild animal was a place where trainers could come and train animals. This took place in place of the shop, but it is no longer the case. "We are not opposed as such to animal training, but it must be done in harmony with the animal, that it is a game for him and not an obligation. If the animal doesn't want to, it doesn't, if it doesn't want to put on a show, it shouldn't do it. Constraining it is not normal. But the wilderness does not show or dress, it is something that we refuse. Besides, they themselves declare that they no longer go to the circus.

There comes the delicate subject of other associations. AVES France is best known for having attacked wild animals a few years ago. They would have liked to be able to exchange with. "First, because some of the visuals used to denigrate the establishment did not come from us, and then to understand this story of bears that we would have entrusted to the Poliakovs. It's wrong ! We have heard of the Mischa affair, and do not want to be related to it from near or far! We asked the former director (the father of the current director), no bear was ever given to a trainer but to a German zoo. It was a mother and son. But if the latter have evidence, then we are takers. [...] Many imagine that our animals are stereotyped, because they will turn in their enclosure. It's wrong ! They will turn at food time or when they will see / feel one of the trainers arrive. We have a lot of contact with them, we pet them - through the enclosures - we play with them ... When they are spinning, rest assured that it is because we are not far away or that they may have noticed something. "

What about future animals? Fauverie has counted 81 births over the past 10 years. The carnivores are then entrusted to foreign or French zoological parks, such as the 3 Valleys. “We would like to continue this momentum, our last birth being a little caracal, but we will see a tigress and a female lemur coming soon. We hope they can give life too. We also sometimes receive animals seized from the authorities. Some time ago it was a white tiger, but we had to refuse it because we don't have room to welcome another male. There, we would like to recover, once enlarged small species, like recovering hyenas. We would also like to come to the aid of laboratory monkeys, for example, in order to offer them a real retirement instead of completing euthanasia.

One of Vanessa's dreams would be the rescue of laboratory monkeys. "If one day I have the possibility of saving animals and that we have the place and the authorizations, I will not hesitate. I would very much like to help the animals of the couple of trainer [Poliakov], but especially to be able to save laboratory monkeys. It would be a concretization to say that after years of undergoing human tests, they can find a real refuge in the Faron. Personally, I am totally against the fact of using animals for experiments [...] I could not welcome as many as the La Tanière refuge, but if only two, it would already be a great victory. "

We took the opportunity to tell them about our sanctuary project, and what we would like to achieve for - mainly - big cats and primates. "It's a wonderful project! Many want to close zoos, circuses ... But no one thinks about the future of animals. Some tell us they have to go back to the wild, but they don't understand that they won't survive. One day, a vegan association came when we explained this to them, their response was "So what?". With a project like this, many animals could be saved, it is in the continuity of the ark refuge and La Tanière. If ever you need to know, the Fauverie supports this project and that we could stay in touch to see the evolution. "

After taking a tour of the animals, going to meet the tiger Sirius, the lemurs, Jean-Paul the baboon accompanied by his harem, the jaguars Orlof and Alien, the wolf Geva, the puma Lady, the couple of lions Nora and Kid, Cla and Baguerra panthers, Radja love panther, the serval Max as well as other boarders, and to have learned a little more about their reciprocal stories, the managers would like people to remember one thing. Yes, there are still 5 years, the animal was a place with poor living conditions for animals, but a lot of work has been done since. They do not deny the past and know very well that they have a bad image because of the old too small enclosures and the numerous scandals, but today they have a will to do well. "Instead of sticking to photos of 10 years ago or more, go to the place, come to discuss, exchange, see for yourself. Many pens are under construction, some animals will be moved so that they can enjoy even more space, but one thing is certain, they no longer wish to keep this image of a breeding plant and really want their animals flourish.