Biography : Jacques-Olivier TRAVERS

The man who fly with eagles…

Jacques-Olivier was born in 1972 in the department of Ain in France and spent his childhood in the countryside surrounded by birds. He worked at Villars les Dombes, the largest bird park of France, whist he was studying journalism. He worked at Villars les Dombes, the largest bird park of France, whist he was studying journalism. When he was 24, he decided to take the plunge and create his own animal park dedicated to raptors, Les Aigles du Léman. Fauconnier professionnel depuis 1997, il a été le plus jeune titulaire du certificat de capacité (22ans) pour la présentation de rapaces, au public, en France. Today, Les Aigles du Léman is home to some 320 birds of prey of 80 species, making it one of the world’s largest collections.

Followed by a paragliding bird flight, shadow and light.
Jacques-Olivier in front of the burj khalifa tower with a white-tailed eagle in focus.

The voice of the eagles – A man of communication and entertainment

He understands very quickly the interest of bringing raptors closer to people and begins in 1998 to perform in different events with his eagles. To his credit a few firsts, release of eagles from a captive balloon “Airstair” in 1998, first show of equestrian falconry in the park in 1999 Training of the Geneva Ice Hockey Club’s mascot eagle (for the past 23 years, the eagle has brought the puck to the referee in a closed rink containing over 6,000 people). World premiere of the new Omega watch in 2003 where the eagle has to bring, by flying, the watch to Cindy Crawford, the godmother of the watch. First presentation of a condor of the Andes on horseback in 2005 in Caen, during the show “Golden Horses”. Flight of an eagle on a glacier following a free-rider in the slope for “the night of skiing” in 2005. Long-distance flight (about 4kms) between take-off and landing at the Icare section in 2006. He has also presented his shows in the biggest institutions: Evian Masters, Grand Prix of America, Qatar Cultural Festival, UEFA Gala Night, Elysee Palace Show, FIFA Tournament, American Cemetery. ‘Omaha Beach …’

Cameras on birds : In 2009 for the BBC, Jacques-Olivier began to place cameras on the backs of his birds. These exceptional images were televised all around the world and included flyovers of the Mer de Glace, Paris, London, Cologne and Dubaï. The latest flight will remain in the history of falconry for its world record six minute flight from the top of the United Arab Emirates 830m Burj Khalifa tower which was broadcasted live on BBC World program and viewed by close to 1 billion people around the world.

White-tailed eagle perched on a wooden stand in the Les Aigles du Léman park. His head is turned to the right, looking behind him.

A program to teach eagles to fly !

The concept is to allow birds, born in captivity, to fly back into the wilderness. Ce qui semble si évident au début se heurte à une réalité très différente; un oiseau né en captivité ne sait pas voler, il sait se déplacer d’un point A à un point B mais voler demande d’utiliser le vent, les thermiques, le relief… Ce sont les parents qui enseignent cela habituellement. Jacques-Olivier accompanies the birds in nature to show them how to fly. For this he uses paragliding, skiing, kayaking and horses. These methods have proven to be incredibly effective for the birds but also an extraordinary way to raise awareness throught its spectacular and poetic images.

Sports achievements

Dans le cadre du projet « Freedom » qui consiste à mettre au point une méthode d’apprentissage du vol pour des oiseaux nés en captivité, il a réalisé trois vols exceptionnels avec ses aigles :

  • Take off from the summit of Mont Blanc paragliding with one of his eagles and land 50 minutes later in Chamonix.
  • Cross the Manche sea, still paragliding with his eagle. Letting go, both from a helicopter over England at 4000 m altitude.
  • Cross the Victoria Falls in ULM accompanied by his eagle.

Ces exploits ont fait l’objet de plusieurs dizaines de reportages TV en France et dans le monde. Ce sont prés de 200 pays qui ont pu voir ces images !

Eagle on skis in the mountains.
A white-tailed eagle in the wild about to land on the glove of its falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers.

Movies to take known and love eagles

Since 1999, Jacques-Olivier was asked to shoot his birds in wildlife documentaries, series, fiction film realized by BBC, Discovery Channel, France 5, Arte… En 2009 il est contacté par la BBC et participe pendant 2 ans à la série sur les oiseaux Earthflight. Then, he decided to work at the realization of documentaries : “Sherkan l’Aigle du Mont Blanc” and “Les Aigles de la liberté” with wich he wins many Awards at festivals. In 2014? he produces with Muriel Barra the film for the 10th anniversary of Ushuaia TV. It will be a film entitled “Freedom, l’envol d’un aigles”. Then, in 2017, they have done a 5d film on the wings of an eagle named “Le défi de l’aigle”. Finaly, in 2018, a new film appears recountingthe major events of Jacques-Olivier Travers : “La voie des Aigles”.

Jacques-Olivier Travers, a filmmaker committed to animal conservation

In 2014, TheInternational Union for Conservation of Nature, asked him to produce a film for the anniversary of the 50 years of the Red List, list of endangered species on our planet.

After that, in 2018, his film “An Eagle over Dubai” traces the incredible adventure he had with his eagle in Dubai.

Jacques-Olivier with his bird on top of a mountain.