A pharmacist by training, Michel Terrasse developed an early interest in protecting birds. Born in 1938, he has spent four decades protecting vultures in Cévennes, in southern France. He has had exceptional success in bringing back species that had disappeared long ago, even though they are native to the region.
Along with reintroducing the birds, he has carried out successful re-education programmes to inform local people about the invaluable “cleaning service” carried out by birds of prey, which helps prevent the spread of diseases among animal herds.
Terrasse’s 1984 Rolex Award brought useful recognition and vital funding. At the time, there were only a few dozen vultures in Cévennes. Now, there are over 1,000 from three species.
The Laureate’s work has inspired others around the world. He is now president of the Vulture Conservation Foundation and of the Foundation for the Conservation of the Bearded Vulture, as well as vice-president of France’s Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux.
Published in 2009