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Supported project #6 : ASPAS: for the protection of natural spaces and the creatures that live there

Created in 1980, the goal of APSAS, the Association for the Protection of Wild Animals, is to act in favour of the protection of flora and fauna, the rehabilitation of wild animals and the preservation of natural environments in general. It thus actively works for the protection of plant and animal species as well as the environments and ecosystems on which they depend.

In 2023, ASPAS was provided with €50,000 in funding from the Amis du Festival foundation. These funds were used primarily to support the Vercors Vie Sauvage programme, designed to re-wild the Vercors region by transforming a former hunting enclosure into a vast area where all local wildlife species can freely circulate. The project stretches from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024.

© Clément / ASPAS 


Protect, preserve, regenerate

 

With biodiversity being confronted with an unprecedented crisis and with us having to face a 6th mass extinction, there is an urgency to protect spaces of unoccupied nature, where wildlife can develop in a way that’s sheltered from any destruction and human exploitation. By creating  Réserves de Vie Sauvage® (wildlife reserves) and Havres de Vie Sauvage® (wildlife havens), ASPAS is protecting natural eco-systems over the long term and is allowing for the development of tomorrow’s age-old forests. The goal of these Reserves and Havens scattered over our territory is to make up a network of habitats for the regeneration of wildlife, while benefiting the surrounding environment. 


There are very few truly protected spaces in France, as the charters and regulations governing them tend to prioritize the development and permanence of human activities over real protection for untamed nature. Similarly, logging operations can be practised in all or part of these so-called “protected” spaces. For example, the Réserve des Hauts Plateau du Vercors, the largest reserve in mainland France at 17,000 hectares, is a hunting area where one can hunt, notably, the black grouse. It is with this in mind that ASPAS is working to improve the protection of certain spaces in France and thereby increase the amount of freely evolving areas.


© Rémi / ASPAS 


Getting rid of the fencing

 

Today, the Vercors Vie Sauvage project is at the heart of the non-profit’s activities. With its 490 hectares, it is ASPAS’ largest Réserve de Vie Sauvage®. The site contains two distinct sections, one that is completely free and another that is enclosed. The enclosed area, at 240 hectares, recently was home to a commercial hunting operation. The surrounding non-enclosed area of 250 hectares was also open to hunting before the non-profit purchased this natural space.


To this day, removal of the enclosures is one of ASPAS’ major battles. Although hunting is now forbidden there, this fencing still greatly contributes to the fragmentation of wild animal habitats, limiting their ability to move freely and imperilling the state of the forest given an overpopulation of suid species and deer.


ASPAS will now devote all of its energy to rehabilitating this site to preserve the lives of animals, as well as to tearing down the enclosures. In the near future, this site with its burdensome hunting past will be completely given back to nature. This action that ASPAS is carrying out is a precious asset in the current context. This is the first time in France that a hunting enclosure will be dismantled out of a respect for animal well-being and this experience will be all the more precious in the years to come!



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