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Refuge de l’Arche
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Refuge de l’Arche

Located in France, the Refuge de l’Arche is a genuine safe haven for abandoned and orphaned animals, as well as those kept illegally in captivity. At the refuge, each animal has a story, while the facility itself, opened more than 30 years ago, is an awe-inspiring human adventure. The Refuge de l’Arche is unique because its director is also unique. Christian Huchedé could have been a protester in the student uprisings of 1968, but at that time he preferred installing nest boxes and feeders for homeless birds. That year, some young people of the village of Château-Gontier brought him a cormorant that had been crippled by gunshot. The adventure of the refuge began. Over the following months, sick, wounded and abandoned animals arrived in the family’s yard. Very soon, they began to lack space. The district of Château-Gontier, in the Pays de la Loire region, handed over a piece of land to Christian and his friends, unaware for a moment that the Refuge de l’Arche would one day be home to over 1,500 animals from 150 different species!

Walk down a lush green lane, past the reptile cave, past the parks for the tigers, wolves and bears, or step into an aviary filled with the songs of dozens of birds, and you’ll no doubt happen upon Christian Huchedé, who does the rounds of his domain daily, ensuring his wards are well cared for. Adding to the humanitarian deeds of Christian and his team, in recent years the refuge has been welcoming people in difficulty, as part of a programme to reintegrate them into the workforce.

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