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Saturday, 9 July 2011

A love story - Jean-Claude and Juliette, the reformed hunter and his wild boar

It might not exactly be along the lines of Shakespeare's tragedy, but the story of Jean-Claude Martin and Juliette could have had a similar ending, had the French justice system not come to its senses at the last moment.

Jean-Claude Martin and Juliette (screenshot from Europe 1 report on Dailymotion)

On Friday a court ruled that the pair could remain together; he a hunter of an age that should perhaps know better, she a three-year-old female boar.

The couple first "met" back in 2008 when Martin from the village of Lachau in the south-eastern département of Drôme found the then 800-gramme Juliette all alone and stuck in a hole in the forest, unable to get out and, as he told Europe 1 radio, "Facing certain death".

He rescued her, took her home, bottle-fed and cared for her until over the years she grew into a fine beast, weighing in at a mighty 100 kilogrammes.

Martin apparently tried to release Juliette back into the wild, but she was having none of it and kept returning for a little more TLC.

So the by-now former hunter put away his gun and gave in to the path of "true love", building a pen for her and Juliette became as much his darling as he did hers.

"She followed me everywhere and played with a ball," Martin said.

"Juliette knew her place in the household, got on with the dogs and in a manner of speaking we lived together."

But while Juliette's fame soon spread throughout the village and she became something of a mascot, officialdom threatened to put an end to their "idyll" and worse still, Juliette's life.

As TF1 news reports, in 2010 Martin received a visit from wardens of l'Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (the government-run organisation for overseeing hunting and wildlife in France, ONCFS) and was told that as he didn't have a licence to keep her, she would either have to be returned to the wild or be put down.

ONCFS even went as far as to take Martin to court for illegally "possessing a wild animal" but on Friday the case was thrown out and Martin acquitted.

Speaking afterwards Patrice Grillon, Martin's lawyer - and presumably Juliette's come to that - told Agence France Presse how relieved his client was about the decision.

"Jean-Claude Martin has a very special bond with his sow and there's no doubt she would have died had he not intervened in the first place," he said.

"Over the years it's clear that Juliette has become a domesticated animal," he added.

And Martin?

Well he's in pig heaven and can continue giving Juliette her daily treats of biscuits and sugar lumps.



Jean-Claude et Juliette la laie

par Europe1fr

1 comment:

misplacedperson said...

The farm in Val d'Isere has (or had) a pet wild boar, apparently in the habit of escaping and roaming the resort looking for people to give her apples. She gave me a serious scare when she turned up right behind me at the door of a hotel I was overseeing at he time - you see some funny things in ski resorts but that one probably gets first prize.

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