Le Parc des Félins, Nesles Zoo


In 1986, Patrick and Thierry Jardin, two enthusiastic brothers fond of nature and wildlife, founded the zoological park CERZA at Lisieux - near Caen in Normandy. This 50-hectare park is devoted to the reproduction and the welfare of endangered species, with more than 500 animals living in spacious and areas that mimic their natural environment, converted especially for them. Since the opening, Cerza' s reputation kept growing - not only with the public, but also with professionals from the world of nature conservation and wildlife protection.

Proud of this success, the Jardin brothers wanted to carry on in that way and so in 1998 they created the first European park dedicated to feline species at Auneau (near Chartres in the Eure-et-Loir department). In this park, visitors discovered many feline species that were seldom on display in zoos, such as margay, fishing cat, clouded leopard and manul or Pallas' cat, alongside the more well-known tigers and lions. During the eight years at Auneau more than 100,000 visitors per year were welcomed in the park, and 80 cubs were born and raised.

Despite this success, director Patrick Jardin and his staff decided to move their cats because at Auneau there was a lack of space (only 8 ha) and possibilities to extend the work on cat conservation and to reach the envisaged goals. So since 1 September 2006, the cats now live in the Seine-et-Marne department at the beautiful 71-hectare woodland estate of “La Fortelle”. Le Parc des Felins opened its gate to the public on 14 October 2006.

As of spring 2014 a brand new asset has been added to the Zoo, the Trans'Félins. This train offers a visit to the park which brings the visitor closer to the animals.

The Zoo's success in breeding feline species in large enclosures with a natural environment shows in its breeding track record, with registered first births in France of fishing cat, rusty-spotted cat, Asian golden cat, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and bobcat.

(Source: Le Parc des Félins guidebook; website Le Parc des Félins)

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map


"Tiger map" (CC BY 2.5) by Sanderson et al., 2006.


about zoos and their mission regarding breeding endangered species, nature conservation, biodiversity and education, while at the same time relates to the evolution of species.