This paper is written from a sociological perspective and examines an instance of wildlife reintroduction concerning a predator. Its subject is the return of the lynx to France (districts of Vosges, Ain and Jura) and the ensuing evolution of the animal's public image. It first presents the expectations of those who led the movement to reintroduce the lynx during the 1970s, an era when the French Enviromnent administration hesitated between several regions, in Vercors in the Alps or Vosges in the East. It then outlines the development of the reintroduction in the Vosges and the obstacles encountered. The situation in the districts of Ain and Jura is then described and analysed. The lynx's return, effective after 1986, had followed similar reintroductions in neighbouring Switzerland and attacks on livestock — which still persist — had initiated a crisis opposing on the one hand sheep farmers and huniers and on the other, ecological associations and administrations, especially in Ain. The paper concludes with a description of the lynx's image in 1995 in France.
Rumours, Social Conflicts, Wildlife, Ecology.