Jean-Claude Roch


Jean-Claude Roch, permanent wildlife warden

I’ve always liked to watch the snow fall, but I am very happy to see it melt, to witness nature coming alive again, and to hear the morning birdsong. It’s wonderful !

You have been a forest ranger for twenty years, and now you’ve become a gamekeeper, is that right ?

It’s no longer called that. The new title is permanent wildlife warden. Just a small part of my activity consists of pursuing poachers ; the main part concerns wildlife and their habitats. Of course, sometimes, I need to exercise my legal powers, and to turn up at six o’clock in the morning with a search warrant, authorised by a judge, but I detest having to intervene in people’s private lives. I much prefer the other aspects of my job.

Poachers, please don’t force Monsieur Roch to leave his favourite terrain for other less satisfying tasks !

In 1996 I started to work part-time in this new profession, but since 2000 it’s been 100% or even more ! The number of hours I devote to this job exceeds by far the legal limit. After all, wolves don’t make appointments to devour lambs. In cases like these, I rush to give moral support to the farmer, estimate the extent of the loss, and also analyse the DNA of the predator. Surveillance of wild animals isn’t a job for office-hours. The job is so riveting that the number of hours worked is incidental.

How does one become a permanent wildlife warden ?

There’s no school or apprenticeship to become a wildlife warden. You have to come up through the ranks of the police or gendarmerie, or otherwise though the foresters. In either case you need to have a hunting licence, because sadly one has sometimes to shoot animals. You have to be nominated for the post, and then do a training course for several weeks, Each year further training is required.

To work with wild animals is a dream that I’ve had for ages. In 1980, once I’d obtained my hunting permit, I was immediately taken on as a voluntary auxiliary wildlife warden.

Now I manage to achieve my dream every day !

079 2305349

Translation : Gordon Douglas