Bernard Devaux

Self-taught with a passion for art, design and media, Bernard has led a varied life, traveling extensively and setting up several businesses within the artistic realm. In 1985, Bernard directed a film on Saharan snakes that lead to his interest in reptiles. In autumn 1986, Bernard co-founded an association for "studying and protecting tortoises" in the south of France, which they named SOPTOM (Station d’Observation et de Protection des Tortues et de leurs Milieux, or the, Station for Observing and Protecting Tortoises and their Habitats).

From then on, his whole life became dedicated to these misunderstood and often threatened reptiles. To finance protection programs for European tortoises and turtles, SOPTOM developed a brand new concept of financing the conservation of a species by opening up education centers to the general public. As a result, visitors helped finance conservation campaigns. In May 1988, SOPTOM opened the first Turtle Village at Gonfaron, in the Var region of France, then another center in Corsica (Moltifao) two years later. The first Turtle Clinic specializing in treating turtles and tortoises and studying their pathology was also opened in Gonfaron. A few years later. In the years that followed, additional villages were opened in Dakar (Noflaye) in Senegal and later at Mangily-Ifaty in southern Madagascar.

Today, Bernard's main activities are to travel to different countries around the world to document the situation faced by many chelonian species as well as provide his unique expertise to organizations supporting turtle conservation, especially those working in Asia.