Since the beginning of 2020, Scouarnec has been regularly visiting a care center for wildlife. It is a place close to the hustle and bustle of the city, and it is also deployed in a less urban environment to help prepare for an animal’s return to the wild. In this place, the will to help all species of birds and mammals exists without distinction. Here, over hours which are often forgotten, gestures are repeated and become recurring rituals. Veterinarians, trainers, volunteers, and students follow one another. Their faces watch. Their hands nourish, educate, heal, and cleanse. In contact with injured bodies, the space opens up for a face-to-face encounter with an animal ‘otherness’, where distances are recomposed and sometimes entirely removed. In the proximity of this encounter with the wild animal, movements seek assurance and accuracy depending on the species. We learn to be attentive to the slight signs of an animal’s fear, watching the shelters, the linen sifting the light, the silence. This time of care, which sees the relational boundaries with the non-domestic animal jostling and changing, must be as brief as possible to avoid fatal stress, or on the contrary, to impregnate the animal with too much of the human presence, a term called imprinting. At a time when wild species and their habitats continue to constantly shrink, these sensitive persons are trying to make themselves heard and act for wildlife. An attempt to repair our links with the living. With more than six thousand animal receptions per year, the Faune Alfort Association, which is associated with the Alfort University Veterinary Hospital for Wildlife CHUV-FS, has become the leading care center in France for a number of wild species. It is part of the National Network of Wildlife Care Centres. While the received number of animals in distress continues to increase each year, the survival of these centers relying on donations remains extremely precarious.
Aurélie Scouarnec (b. 1990) is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in Paris. Her work explores topics related to popular myths and beliefs in close interaction with nature. She was a finalist of the International Festival Photography of Hyères in 2018 and won the Bourse du Talent prize in 2021. Her works were exhibited at various photo festivals such as at the Portuguese Encontros da Imagem in Braga and the Dutch Unseen Festival (with Futures, a European photography platform) among many other galleries in France. Currently, her works are on display in the French National Library in Paris, France.