A world premiere
For the NGO behind the project, it sounds like a Christmas story, but the reality goes far beyond fiction. 688,363€ has been raised since 17 December and the target of 600,000€ in fund-raising has largely been exceeded. This is enough to secure the purchase of the zoo, take care of the priorities and immediately improve the animal's holding conditions. 23,600 donors including some celebrities have invested time, fame or money in this crazy bet: the journalist Hugo Clément, the actor Pierre Niney, the founder of Meetic Marc Simoncini and captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd ensure the media buzz to allow the acquisition and rehabilitation of the zoo until it can be converted into a rehabilitation centre for wildlife.
An ambitious commitment
Rewild or "reverse the domestication process and restore a natural habitat by bringing back the wild animals that originally lived there." This NGO, created by seven founding associations (*) specialising in the defence, preservation, care, rehabilitation and seizure of wildlife victims of trafficking and the protection of natural habitats, is therefore committed to reintroducing all animals (including those born in captivity) into wild or reserve areas after being transfered to their country of origin. Those who cannot live in the wild will be released into reserves managed by Rewild's partners. Eventually, the zoo will become a centre for the care of wildlife seized by the French Justice administration and training courses will be organized for magistrates, healers and gendarmes.
An innovative centre
No more animals caged or tethered: the public will soon be able to follow a virtual and video tour of the different species' treatments. A training centre for handling, diagnosing health and identifying species will open in the spring. In the short term, Rewild also wants to create a boutique with related products and a vegan restaurant and is counting more than ever on the generosity of donors: the fund remains open to allow the rehabilitation of the premises and allow the rewilding of the animals on a case-by-case basis. A charity event will be held on 6 February at the Palais des congrés in Lorient with 500 Breton business leaders to raise funds. Will seals, penguins, lions, giraffes soon be able to regain their freedom? In spite of a recent campaign designed to damage its credibility, Rewild intends to work hard to restore a black rhino in poor health and to offer the sea to seals who have always lived in freshwater ponds.
photo: Kergourlay/ Wikimedia Commons
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