The Lorient Commercial Court chose, Thursday, May 20, the Breizh Park project, led by the Costa-Rican entrepreneur Sébastien Musset, to take over from the former Pont-Scorff (Morbihan) zoo, placed in compulsory liquidation. The project provides for an investment of 5 million euros (including 4 million works), and the takeover of ten of the sixteen employees. Six investors, including specialists in business recovery and animal parks, are involved.
Unlike the project submitted by the NGO Sea Shepherd, which funds the Pont-Scorff takeover project through the NGO coalition Rewild since the end of 2019, that of Mr. Musset provides for an exhibition of the animals to the public. Four resumption projects had been submitted, but only those of Mr. Musset and Sea Shepherd remained in contention on Tuesday.
“Our project revolves around animal welfare, notably with the expansion of enclosures, the reintroduction of species into natural environments or sanctuaries, and an animal care center. We are not a classic zoo ”, said Sébastien Musset, specifying that ” the hand [était] more than tense to Sea Shepherd ” on the species reintroduction component. The project is expected to derive its revenue from public admissions and corporate donations.
A project of “rewilding the world”
“The commercial court failed to fully appreciate the expectation of a growing part of public opinion for a different project”, lamented Sea Shepherd in a statement. “We regret that the commercial court remained on general assumptions on NGOs and that it did not believe in the viability of a project which does not aim to generate profit by exposing animals to the public”, added the NGO. Sea Shepherd, however, is willing to “Assist the buyer” in the rehabilitation of zoo animals.
The managing company Bretagne Zoo, indebted to the tune of 2 million euros, was placed in liquidation in March 2021. In December 2019, the NGO collective Rewild had acquired 70% of the company thanks to a crowdfunding campaign. The call for donations was based on a promise: the repurchase would serve to “Release” the 560 residents to send them back to their home environment, transform the place into a reception center for animals resulting from trafficking, and “To rewild the world”. At the end of 2020, the NGO had however noted serious management errors. An audit had revealed that the company was in suspension of payments.
The project selected by the Lorient commercial court, Breizh Park, plans to open for June 2022.