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Sylvain Macchi


A wolf can devour 12 kg of meat per week during the summer, and up to 15 kg per week in the winter.

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Sylvain Macchi

For the love of wolves

MacchiAlthough he grew up in Paris, Sylvain Macchi has always been fascinated with wild animals. Even in the heart of a great metropolis, this attraction led him to seek contact with animals, especially with predators such as the wolf. “It was forbidden,” he says, “but I would go feed the wolves at the Jardin des Plantes and the Zoo de Vincennes. Once a week, I would slip them containers of beef while no one was looking. The wolves recognized me.”

This passion prompted him to travel in search of his favourite animal, and fate led him to cross paths with Gérard Ménatory, renowned champion of wolves and founder of Les Loups du Gévaudan park. The site, located in the Lozère department roughly 600 km south of Paris, is spread over about 20 hectares and is home to around 100 wolves. Sylvain Macchi has been in charge of the park since 1995.

The beast of Gévaudan

LoupThe region where the park is located is famous for the story of the Beast of Gévaudan, alleged to have killed about 100 women and children between 1764 and 1767. However, Sylvain Macchi prefers the theory of Gérard Ménatory, who proposed that the beast was actually a hyena raised by people. The wolf is not in the habit of attacking humans.

The wolf’s notorious reputation nearly led to its extinction in France between 1920 and 1940. Canada also experienced a period of wolf persecution, but with a greater population, the animal was able to rebound quickly. Only since 1992 has France begun to see the return of the wolf, particularly in the department of Alpes Maritimes.

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