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Gironde: the animals of the private zoo of Espiet seized by justice


“It’s completely absurd, I don’t understand…” Gérard Moulhérat, at the Moulin de Montfrange, is still in shock. All the animals so far under his care, on his Espiet property, were seized on Wednesday January 19. An action carried out within the framework of a preliminary investigation opened for “irregular operation of an establishment keeping non-domestic animals” and “mistreatment of animals placed in their custody, within the framework of the operation of a zoo or ‘a circus,’ details the Libourne prosecutor’s office, confirming…

“It’s completely absurd, I don’t understand…” Gérard Moulhérat, at the Moulin de Montfrange, is still in shock. All the animals so far under his care, on his Espiet property, were seized on Wednesday January 19. An action carried out within the framework of a preliminary investigation opened for “irregular operation of an establishment keeping non-domestic animals” and “mistreatment of animals placed in their custody, within the framework of the operation of a zoo or ‘a circus,’ details the Libourne prosecutor’s office, confirming information published by LeResistant.fr.

The operation was carried out by the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), the veterinary teams of the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations and that of the La Tanière zoo refuge in Nogent-le-Phaye (Eure-et-Loir). , with the support of the Grézillac gendarmerie brigade. The investigation is still in its infancy. The seizure was however pronounced in view of the health status of the animals. “It took place in perfect coordination of the services”, welcome the magistrates.


Gérard Moulhérat and one of the tigers, in 2015, at the Moulin de Montfrange.

Archives Jean-Charles Galiacy

The Moulin de Montfrange has been welcoming animals from animal parks, zoos or private individuals for nearly thirty years. Tigers, one of which appeared in the film “Two Brothers” by Jean-Jacques Annaud, panthers, lemurs, monkeys of all kinds, but also parrots, parakeets, macaws… And even wallabies, which regularly hit the headlines, playing the girls of the air in Entre-deux-Mers.

For the professionals of the zoo refuge, the animals were housed in unsanitary conditions.

For the professionals of the zoo refuge, the animals were housed in unsanitary conditions.

Zoo-refuge La Tanière

Suspicious death of a tiger

Didier Cazenave, mayor of Espiet, was called to the scene. “Animals running away, we’re used to it. It seems to be something more important, ”he says soberly, not wishing to comment further on the procedure implemented by the prosecution. The death of one of the tigers would have triggered the investigation carried out by the OFB. “He is dead, but of old age”, argues Gérard Moulhérat, which seems to contradict the elements of the procedure. The man, in any case, does not intend to stop there. “I took a lawyer. I have been caring for animals for thirty years. And there, overnight, they are taken away from us. I have however been checked regularly, there had never been a problem. »

On the same subject

When the wallabies take off

When the wallabies take off

Three marsupials escaped from a private park this week. Two are back home but a last one is still on the run….

“The places were unsanitary, too small, and the animals were not in good condition”

The zoo refuge of Nogent-le-Phaye has a different expertise. The team discovered an unambiguous situation in his eyes. “The places were unsanitary, too small, and the animals were not in good condition, believes Patrick Violas, founder and manager of La Tanière. Now there was no willful abuse, we are more on neglect. The animals were overfed, with unsuitable products, poor quality recovery food. Some were obese, especially the tigers. The latter lived in their excrement. The smell was infernal, I’m not likely to forget it. Further on, we found a kangaroo corpse…”

Infinite precautions

Patrick Violas is familiar with this type of intervention. “We were asked because it is our specificity, he says. 60 to 70% of the animals welcomed here come from seizures. This was about fifty animals of all sizes. The operation required its teams, the site being located more than 500 km from Espiet, an unusual logistical effort. “We were 28 people with the trucks and the necessary equipment, he says. We had the authorization to intervene Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. We had made the trip in two stages on the outward journey, the return was made in one go. »

The health status of the seized animals, here lemurs, was checked.

The health status of the seized animals, here lemurs, was checked.

Zoo-refuge La Tanière

The operations were complex to carry out. “It was, in particular for the tigers, animals of more than 200 kg, located in places which did not allow us to approach by truck. Infinite precautions had to be taken. Being old and obese animals, we hesitated to put them to sleep. One of the animals even suffered from a tail infection. But we had no choice. And in the end, everything went well. The capture of the wallabies, carried out in a more artisanal way, with a net, was a little more sporty. “There is no question of putting them to sleep, they are animals with weak hearts. »

The convoy reached the shelter Thursday around 2 a.m. Some birds have already been welcomed by a park. But the vast majority of animals are currently kept in quarantine, between 30 and 90 days “depending on their status”. “We have already identified several problems, in particular of bacterial origin. But above all, we have many pregnant animals. Reproduction was not controlled…”



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