Experience

Meeting the Director of the ZooParc de Beauval

Rodolphe Delord

When the family settled in Touraine in 1977, Rodolphe was only 8, but already knew a lot about birds: his Mum had collected around 300 of them in their Paris apartment! Around 40 years later, he is now the director of one of the largest zoological parks in Europe, located in the heart of the Loire Valley. We have chosen to tell you about this interview based on a few key figures.

2

This is the number of gorillas born in Beauval that will soon be reintroduced into their natural environment in Gabon. Previously, in 2017, two Javanese langurs born here were reintroduced.

3

This is the number of passions Rodolphe Delord says he has
Recreating the link between people and nature via the animals
Creating and building
The countryside, and particularly plants
5

It was the size in hectares of the land made available to Françoise Delord, originally from Tours, in 1980, by her parents-in-law. She managed three of them and opened a small ornithological park where she sold the tickets at the entrance herself. A few years later, her son joined her to develop it. Today, the family owns 110 hectares. “and not a month goes by without me buying a piece of land around it,” states Rodolphe Delord.

16

This is the age that Rodolphe, never really comfortable within the education system, left and never went back. The exceptional journey of a ‘self-made man’! 

1,400

That is the area in square metres of the new veterinary clinic inaugurated in 2017. It has a scanner, operating table, recovery room and a medical analysis laboratory.

35,000

This is the number of animals that you can see in the park today, spread over 600 species and 40 hectares.

35

In metres, the altitude of the ‘Le Nuage de Beauval’ cable car. Since 30th March 2019, 24 8-seater cabins have been giving visitors a bird’s eye view of the park, from a breathtaking angle.

364

That’s the number of hotel rooms available at Beauval. In 2008, Rodolphe Delorrd and his team decided to make Beauval a destination in its own right. To make it happen, they had to take a lot of risks: more communication, more recruitment, more investment… According to ‘experts’ the hotels would not work. There are now three, and it’s not finished yet.

The approximate number of employees on site in 2019. 

This is the year that Françoise Delord left Paris for Beauval in Saint-Aignan, with her husband, the magician Jacques Delord, their two children Delphine and Rodolphe and her collection of birds which increased rapidly from 300 to 1500.

It is the decade in which, according to Rodolphe Delord, the tipping point came between the zoo being a simple place of entertainment and the zoo being a site of biodiversity and conservation, with research programmes in ethology, researchers working on-site, general eco-responsibility… Beauval was one of the first large zoological parks to make a strong commitment to this approach and was involved in the change of image of zoos in general. Following this logic, dolphins were removed a few years ago, based on evidence by animal conservationists.

This is the annual sum in euros spent by the ZooParc de Beauval for field projects, i.e. 30 to 35 programmes per year: protection of species and natural environments, reintroduction of species, purchase of forests, fight against invasive species, research, etc.

Zoo de Beauval2 gorillas released in Gabon

2 Million

It is the annual number of visitors which could be reached in 2019.

This is a huge figure for a site that has only existed for 40 years. By way of comparison, it is around the same number as Parc Astérix, the Grand Palais in Paris and Futuroscope in Poitiers. The Chateau de Chambord, another big attraction in Loir-et-Cher, welcomes 1 million visitors.

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