On 10 June 1793, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) was founded by decree; it is the true heir of the Jardin royal des Plantes médicinales (Royal Garden of the Medicinal Plants), which was established in 1635. Today this great institution committed to scientific research and dissemination of knowledge brings together 12 sites in France, and tackles 5 major missions. The Réserve zoologique de la Haute-Touche is one of these sites.
Statutes and working procedures
As the only zoological institution with research laboratory status, the Réserve de la Haute-Touche helps to enhance knowledge of wildlife and its conservation. Some 40 species are being raised at the institution as part of the international programmes coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). French species feature among these: the European pond turtle (aquatic turtle) and the Little bustard (migratory bird). Every year, the young animals raised here are released into their natural environment to help prevent the extinction of the last surviving populations. The little bustards are therefore found in West-Central France, while the European pond turtles have returned to Savoie following a century-long absence.
The Reserve is tackling three major missions:
Conservation: the Reserve contributes to species preservation through its involvement in captive breeding programmes.
Dissemination of knowledge: a leisure facility, the Reserve gives visitors the opportunity to observe animals in a recreational setting. Wonder is the prelude to knowledge and helps to raise public awareness of nature conservation.
Research: The work of the scientists and the experience of the vet and the animal keepers contribute to increasing the knowledge of animal species, helping to constantly improve the management of populations in captivity and helping with the conservation of populations in the wild. The research covers a number of fields: genetics, physiology, reproductive biology, behavioural biology, veterinary medicine (combating infectious diseases, epidemiology, assisted reproduction, nutrition).