In cities around the world, wildlife has adapted to urban environments and even thrived. This includes animals like crows, pigeons, rats, and seagulls. But in Paris, some surprising creatures have managed to recreate fragments of wild life in the heart of the city.
For example, fox cubs were photographed at Père-Lachaise cemetery, showing a return of nature that became visible during the 2020 lockdown, enabled by the cessation of pesticide use in Parisian cemeteries since 2015. A book titled “La vie secrète d’un cimetière” (The Secret Life of a Cemetery) showcases a variety of animals found at Père-Lachaise, including cats, crows, hedgehogs, squirrels, woodpeckers, and even parakeets that are said to have escaped from Orly airport and conquered Paris. The presence of these animals illustrates the city’s coexistence with nature, although some species like deer and wild boar cannot penetrate the densely urbanized core.
In addition to foxes, rabbits have thrived in the 7th arrondissement and faced resistance from authorities who consider them a nuisance, despite being a fragile species decimated by diseases like myxomatosis. This contrasts with the disappearance of livestock farming and animal trade in 19th-century Paris, as well as the imminent closure of pony rides and the bird market in 2022. An association called PAZ, Paris Animaux Zoopolis, advocates for the well-being of these animals and challenges urban farming initiatives that may overlook the animals’ needs.
Overall, the coexistence of wildlife in Paris prompts reflection on human-animal relations and the potential for redefining our connection with the natural world.