By Florian Tiercin
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It’s a small event. Closed to the public since December 2019, a zoo near Lorient, in Morbihan, will be reborn with a new project: Lands of Natae. Presentation.
Opening in June 2022
It’s the commotion at a place called Kerruissaeau in Pont-Scorff. The parking lots are full. But no visitors. Several trades are active: installation of an immersive aviary of 1,000 m², restructuring of the elephant enclosure, expansion of the parks, redesign of the graphic charter, etc.
“The work began in November 2021. The opening will take place in June 2022“, explains Sébastien Musset, buyer of the Pont-Scorff zoo and creator of Terres de Nataé.
Fourteen hectares of nature will be dedicated to the preservation, protection and discovery of the most endangered species. 140 panels will present the hundred species (300 animals), supervised by 16 keepers.
Pell-mell, we can observe felines (lions, tigers), from parrots, giraffes, panthers, reptiles (crocodile, turtle, snake), lemurs or even primates. The public will discover them across four continents (Europe, Africa, South America and Asia). The red thread of the route takes up the story of six Breton navigators and explorers discovering the fauna and flora.
A new buyer
The place has had a somewhat troubled history. The Pont-Scorff zoo opens in 1973 at the initiative of Pierre Thomas, a former trainer of big cats from the world of the circus. In october 1987, a hurricane hits the site: six animals are on the run, including a panther. Not insured, the zoo is in financial difficulty. The place rose from its ashes with local support and even grew in the following decade.
The adventure ends in 2019. The Rewild NGO coalition then signs a compromise to buy the zoo. Hugo Clément and Stéphane Bern relay the call of the Rewild association to make a shelter for abused animals. But the rewilding episode ends with poor management (judicial liquidation).
The revival is partly the work of the forties Sebastien Musset. “I came here with my grandparents in the 1990s. I came back in 2012,” he rewinds.
The Lorient Commercial Court accepted his project on May 20, 2021. “I had a passion for animals when I was very young after my parents divorced. Taking care of mice, hamsters and tadpoles helped me”, he recalls before talking about the trigger:
I wanted to leave my responsibilities in large groups (banking, insurance, IT and catering). It is also a challenge: that of rebuilding an animal park. Passion, madness and a little fed up to sum it up.
No animal shows
“The raison d’être of Terres de Nataé is the protection of endangered species”, sums up Sébastien Musset.
Preserve, conserve and reintroduce into the natural space (or at least into a sanctuary). At the opening, we have 45% of species that are endangered species, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). I set myself a goal of two-thirds within three years.
The place is a mix between a zoo and a refuge. The brave new world of the two former managers. But the new owners make it a point of honor not to no more animal shows.
Sébastien Musset specifies: “There will only be feedings. The only show will be with actors. Twice a day, the script will address the issue of endangered species. L’Escape Room around the rescue of a species in South America also revolves around this theme.
In addition, the animal park is committed with conservation programs (financial contribution and scientific partnership) to local associations (Bolivia, Burma among others) for six animals such as Asian elephants, red pandas or Burmese turtles.
The zoo promotes three values: “Well-being, transmission and transparency. The first is “welfare for the animals, but also for the 35 employees. The second is education for the public, but also between zoos. For the last, the animal park wants to be transparent, especially on deaths:
We recovered old and sometimes inbred animals. We accompany them. A veterinarian says we are a geriatric ward. We have some animals with tumors. We adapt to them.
The work at Terres de Nataé in figures:
1.5 km of pipeline 6,000 m² of roads and paths 1.5 km of railings 15,000 m² of paintwork A new reception/shop building A new restaurant building facing the plain of elephants Renovation and transformation of around thirty enclosure
A Celtic deity as a totem
Natae is the site’s mascot. It is the Celtic deity who symbolizes the protection and renewal. Each employee will have their totem animal.
For Sébastien Musset, it has become the elephant. “We transferred the Asian elephant to a sanctuary. It was a shock. They are intelligent and empathetic animals. At the opening there will be two new elephants thanks to a Dutchman who deals with the protection of the species. The two males will arrive in May”, he reveals.
Starting from almost zero, the zoo will be reborn. It joins other Breton sites, namely the animal park of Branféré (Morbihan), the zooparc of Trégomeur (Côtes-d’Armor), the zoo of Bourbansais (Ille-et-Vilaine) or the Animal Park of La Pommeraie (Finistère).
Opening hours: from opening until August 31: from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. – April to June and September to November: from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – From November to March from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (only Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays) – except school holidays: open every day. It is strongly recommended to book online (gauge and attendance for the beginning). Restaurant and snack
Location: Kerruisseau, 56620 Pont-Scorff
Such. 02 97 59 54 33
Price: €23.90 and €18 for young people
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