Emmanuel Icardo

Technicien patrimoine naturel

  • When did you first become a ranger?

I started working as a ranger in 2000.

  • What is your background (education / work experience / community)

I studied mechanical engineering, before specializing in environmental management. Over the past 23 years, I’ve worked in 3 national parks : Mercantour, Pyrénées, Écrins NP.

  • What are your main duties?
    Biodiversity monitoring, law enforcement, education and interpretation, relations with local stakeholders: foresters, sheepherds, local communities, etc . . .
  • What is your favourite part of the job?

Learning new things all the time: the name of a plant, the song of a bird, the history of a site, etc., and sharing it with the public.

  • What is the most craziest, most dangerous or funniest thing that has happened to you at work?

Like all rangers I’ve had difficult or dangerous experiences, but I prefer to share a funny story: I was looking for an eagle’s nest in the middle of cliffs, high in the mountains, when I heard a donkey braying. It was very strange, so far from everything. I scanned the landscape with my binoculars, looking for the donkey, and then the donkey brayed again . . . up in the sky above my head! Amazing, a flying donkey! In fact it was a jay, imitating the donkey call. Jays often imitate other birds, but this one was an eccentric.

  • What is your most memorable moment?

In the Mercantour NP, in 2007, I helped launch the second ATBI (All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory) in the world, and the first in France. Many specialists from all over Europe came to my park to inventory biodiversity, it was a great experience.

  • Why is the job important to you?
    People in Europe are often disconnected from nature, our role in protecting wild nature and raising awareness of it is crucial. The environmental challenges ahead are immense.