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Natures Sciences Sociétés, EDP Sciences, Volume 14, Ticket Supplément, p.S3-S10 (2006)



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Alpes françaises


At first sight, operations consisting in releasing wild animals, which have become more and more common during the last decades in the French Alps, seem very heterogeneous. Nature protectors and protected areas' managers insist on their differences, and keep making a neat distinction, in particular, between introductions, which they firmly condemn, and reintroductions, which they sometimes undertake. However, this distinction deserves to be questioned. Even if the methods, the results, the aims, the species and the persons involved are indeed different, these operations do share some common points, which deserve to be stated. All of them make their promoters feel that they are living an uncommon adventure. All generate a particular relation to the animal, which at the same time resembles that of hunters', farmers' and nature observers', without being exactly the same as any of them. All show the existence of collective projects on the animal, and on space, shared by some but rejected by others, who regard their own projects as threatened. These operations therefore produce new proximities and new tensions with persons that have not always been warned nor associated. Because of their similarities and of their influence on relations between social groups, they should not be carried out as if they were independent from one another, nor as if they were merely technical interventions.Les lâchers d'animaux sauvages, qui se sont multipliés dans les Alpes au cours des dernières décennies, sont au premier abord très hétérogènes. Les protecteurs et les gestionnaires de la nature le soulignent, en distinguant notamment sans cesse introductions et réintroductions. Cette distinction mérite cependant d'être interrogée. Au-delà de leurs différences, ces opérations présentent en effet plusieurs points communs. Toutes procurent à leurs promoteurs le sentiment de vivre une expérience hors du commun. Toutes induisent une relation particulière à l'animal. Toutes manifestent l'existence de projets collectifs, partagés par certains mais rejetés par d'autres, et génèrent de ce fait de nouvelles proximités et de nouvelles tensions. Leurs convergences et l'influence qu'elles exercent sur les rapports des hommes entre eux plaident pour qu'elles ne soient pas menées comme si elles étaient indépendantes les unes des autres, ni comme s'il ne s'agissait que d'interventions purement techniques.


Humanities and Social Sciences/SociologyJournal articles

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