Who would have thought that this pharmacist working towards in La Garenne-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine) within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies would grow to be one of many biggest protectors of raptors recognized all through the world? The ornithologist, who multiplied vulture reintroduction operations in France, Europe, South and North America, died on January 13, on the age of 84.
Born on August 11, 1938, in Pont-de-Roide (Doubs), he’ll succeed, within the early Nineteen Sixties, in reconciling his job as a pharmacist together with his new career as an animal filmmaker. His first film, Pyrenees mountain of the eagleslaunched in 1964 shall be adopted by about twenty productions together with The Bal des scavengers (1984), The Birds of Eléonore (1978) shot in Tunisia, Between Earth and sea (1983), movie on the ornithological richness of Aiguillon Bay (Vendée), The Wadi which, in 1972, describes the sweetness and fragility of sub-Saharan fauna, together with the very uncommon bald ibis.
He additionally directed a number of movies in South America: Underneath the wings of the condor in 1977, Falklands, Papuan Islands in 1981 and particularly Condors in 1991, the fruit of three years of filming in Argentina, Peru, Chile and California. In 1985, The Return of the Bouldras recounts the extraordinary journey of the reintroduction of griffon vultures within the Tarn and Jonte gorges. He then directed a movie in 1993 on the kestrels which colonized probably the most stunning monuments of Paris (the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and the dome of the Invalides), then contributed as chief operator to the taking pictures of the movie by Jacques Perrin, the migrating folks, in 2001.
The good work of Michel Terrasse’s life lies within the creation in 1969 of the Raptor Intervention Fund (FIR), which he leads together with his brother Jean-François and a whole lot of passionate ornithologists. Within the Nineteen Sixties, owls have been nonetheless nailed to barn doorways, buzzards and vultures have been captured and destroyed with jaw traps, and strychnine was used to poison them. Consequently, the variety of vultures decreased in France and in Europe.
As quickly because the FIR was created, Michel Terrasse launched applications to safeguard and monitor the nests of the peregrine falcon, a species that was extremely threatened on the time because of the poisoning of eggs by the chemical DDT or the looting of broods. On the similar time, he promotes his movies by way of quite a few awareness-raising actions for younger and grownup audiences because of his dynamism and his rising aura.
Within the course of, the FIR obtained regulatory safety for all raptors in France in 1972 and 1976. The success of those initiatives was such that sections of the FIR have been created in Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Tunisia. Its most important goal: to reconstitute viable populations of the 4 species of necrophagous raptors in Europe: the griffon and monk vultures, the bearded vulture and the Egyptian vulture.
This goal has nearly been achieved up to now. From a number of thousand all through southern Europe, it’s at present estimated that greater than 100,000 people, all species mixed, the variety of necrophagous birds flying over the mountains of the Outdated Continent. It was below the impetus of Michel Terrasse that the strategy of feeding plots was used within the Causses after which regularly all through Europe by discovering a method to modify European rules which prohibited leaving home herbivores lifeless. within the open air for sanitary causes.
Mass grave method
This system of mass graves may be very ecological as a result of not solely does it present a supply of meals for scavenger vultures, but it surely additionally avoids the transport of animal carcasses and their incineration. It’s this motion that may save the birds of prey because of the assistance of mountain breeders. Its motion shouldn’t be restricted to the safety of enormous vultures: Michel Terrasse undertakes to ban using bromadiolone, a harmful rat poison, with success within the meadows of Auvergne and Franche-Comté, the place pink kites nest and winter. , threatened species.
Following the merger of the FIR and the LPO in 1998, of which he shall be vice-president, he turns into president of the Basis for the conservation of vultures and vice-president of the Basis for the conservation of black vultures. It promotes, advises, disseminates the examples examined in France to contribute to the conservation of all species of vultures on the planet, particularly condors in South America and the USA, develops motion plans to rehabilitate necrophagous species in Africa and India, the place as soon as the populations have been probably the most flourishing on the globe.
Paradoxically, on the finish of his life, Michel Terrasse thought of that it was simpler to save lots of populations of vultures and huge raptors in Europe, all threatened sixty years in the past, than to halt the inexorable decline of small insectivorous passerines confronted with the drastic discount in insect populations, a consequence of intensive agriculture and numerous sources of air pollution.