At the initiative of this project: passionate people !
The “panda project” was launched in the summer of 2013, following the meeting of two women zookeepers who wanted to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity in a general way and sharing a common passion for the species “red panda” in particular.
Professionals of the animal world, they have long been aware of the disappearance of certain species. By their profession, they already contribute to the protection of a certain number of them. But they wanted to invest even more, in their own way, at their level.
After a few emails were exchanged, they met in September 2013 and the CPPR project began to come to life.
The association’s board is now made up of five members, of whom here is some information.
Helene ALLAIRE, President of the CPPR
As you can guess, I have been passionate about nature since I was a child. From childhood, I knew that I would take care of animals, a consuming passion that became my profession. I went through agricultural training, specifically in equine and cattle. After obtaining my BTEC National Diploma, the most wonderful of chance led me to Paris, where I found a position of zookeeper within the Menagerie of the Garden of Plants.
During my years in this small park belonging to the National Museum of Natural History, I took care among others of the couple of red pandas and their many cubs. A new passion was born around this species. Wishing to do a little more for conservation, I naturally turned to these little-known animals, and then the rest... you know her!
Today transferred to the Paris Zoological Park, I no longer have the opportunity to take care of this endearing animal on a daily basis. But through the CPPR, I hope to contribute with you to its preservation in its natural environment.
Anne-Gwenael PERIO, Vice-President of the CPPR
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to contribute to the preservation of the wildlife that surrounds us. Initially attracted by the profession of veterinarian, I finally studied biology and obtained my MS in population and ecosystem biology in 2002.
It was the same year that I discovered the profession of zookeeper, a profession that has become for me a true vocation, because it allows me to act directly on the welfare of threatened animals, for the most part. I have been working at the Clères Zoological Park in the Seine Maritime since 2004.
But I wanted to be more involved in the preservation of biodiversity, to make a greater contribution. So when I heard Helene talk about her desire to do something for red pandas, a species I particularly like, I didn’t hesitate! And the CPPR was born.
Betty KNOPF, treasurer of the CPPR
I’ve always lived for animals! Mainly attracted by birds and carnivores (exotic and local) I was determined to work in the animal environment. After the scientific A levels, I passed an agricultural BTEC Higher National Diploma which taught me a lot about farming techniques. But my passion for wild animals was too strong for me to stay with pets.
I followed the training of zookeeper of Vendôme and I arrived in Paris, in the former Vincennes zoo, in 2003. Then in 2005 I joined the Menagerie of the Garden of Plant, and there, oh wonder, red pandas!! So beautiful, so interesting, so unique in the animal kingdom and especially so endangered!
When Helene and Anne-Gwenael asked me if I wanted to be one of them to manage the red panda conservation association, I was immediately seduced by the idea. So I joined the team as treasurer.
Alexis LE GAC, Secretary of the CPPR
Since my childhood, it has been impossible for me to pass by a zoological park without visiting it! Being able to bring a well-being to these wild animals in captivity on a daily basis quickly became a dream! After college I turned to a BTEC First Diploma then a BTEC National Diploma «rural service». Although this BTEC National Diploma was focused on service to people, it allowed me to carry out 2 months of internship in aquarium and 4 months at the Park «Le Pal» in Auvergne.
After that I wanted to access the training of zookeeper, but without success… It was impossible for me to stay a year doing anything other than this job… so I immediately started looking for a zookeeper position! And I was lucky in 2007 at the Mulhouse Zoological and Botanical Park, thanks in particular to my knowledge of conservation. Since then, I have worked a lot with primates but also carnivores.
And being seduced by the CPPR project, when Anne-Gwenael offered me to join the board, how to refuse? A great opportunity to contribute to the protection of a species directly!
Melissa VARIN, Assistant Secretary of the CPPR
Passionate about carnivores since childhood, every year I visited zoological parks and this is how my vocation was born. After obtaining my scientifique A levels, I had the opportunity to discover many zoos through my various professional experiences that allowed me to integrate later the training of zookeeper in Vendôme. I worked my first job at the Jurques zoo in versatility. It is then at the Mulhouse Animal and Botanical Park that I specialized in the care of carnivores. Today I work in the park of Clères in ornithology.
I met Alexis in Mulhouse, who told me about the association. Curious, I volunteered and discovered passionate people who act on the field. Seduced by the project and the red panda face, I quickly joined the board to live a beautiful adventure.