For over ten years, Eiffage has been committed to preserving biodiversity. This commitment, renewed through the "Businesses Committed to Nature - Act4Nature France" programme launched in December 2019, is set out in the Group's new biodiversity action plan.
Our activities can have very real and direct impacts on nature and wildlife, such as the weakening of ecological continuity, that can lead to the fragmentation of natural habitats, collisions and the destruction of sensitive species’ habitats.
This is why, in addition to the mandatory action to avoid, reduce and where possible compensate for these impacts (so-called “ERC” action) already being implemented on a daily basis at our worksites, it is essential that we contribute in the field to preserving biodiversity.
Consequently, Eiffage has collaborated for a number of years with organisations, in an effort to support action in the field aimed at protecting and managing pertinent biodiversity
Eiffage is supporting for example the protection of the Eurasian lynx, Europe’s largest wild cat and a protected species, through its partnership with the Athénas wildlife rescue centre in the Jura. Forézienne d´Entreprises and APRR are particularly involved in this initiative.
At the end of April 2021, the Sustainable Development department was invited to the 22nd release into the wild of a lynx - in this case a young female, Ouhna, who was released into the wild about twenty km from where she was rescued, following six months of care, rearing and rehabilitation according to a well-established protocol.
Eiffage has been providing the Athénas rescue centre with financial and material support in three ways:
Every year, the Athénas wildlife rescue centre, located in the village of Étoile in the Jura region close to Lons-le-Saunier, cares for over 2,500 injured animals from neighbouring communes, departments and regions, spanning 150 different species and including the famous Eurasian lynx, Europe’s largest wild cat.
Faced with a sharp increase in the number of injured animals being treated and working at near full capacity, the centre was able to benefit from Eiffage skills, and in particular skills volunteered by its earthworks subsidiary Forézienne d’Entreprises (Saint-Étienne). The company built an access path and a platform to better house a semi-enclosed wooden building, suitable for rescued animals (and for the lynx in particular). This extension was inaugurated in late 2018. Eiffage is the second biggest sponsor in this project, contributing 22%.
Since 2018, this funding has increased thanks to several Eurasian lynx conservation initiatives, like the various initiatives supported in 2021:
- GPS tracking of lynx released back into the wild
- Tracking stations, warning/rescue systems, strengthening of the sentinel network
- Additional equipment for the animal welfare building
- Synthesis of the DNA analysis campaign results
The APRR motorway network has been supporting the Athénas rescue centre since 2019, in the following areas:
- Analysis of Lynx/motor vehicle collision zones and preventive work to control the risk of collisions
- Coordination of recovery action for injured animals within a 100 km radius of the Étoile centre (for lynx as well as for other protected species that are injured, such as forest cats, birds of prey, waders, etc.)
Photo credit: centre Athénas