France’s plan to save endangered hamster

2014-05-06 21:31
A Great Hamster of Alsace at a breeding centre in France. (Frederick Florin, AFP)

A Great Hamster of Alsace at a breeding centre in France. (Frederick Florin, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Strasbourg - Authorities in the French region of Alsace have launched an action plan to save a hamster facing extinction, more than two years after Europe's top court rapped Paris for neglecting the little rodent.

The five-year project will see farmers in the eastern region implement measures to try to encourage the reproduction of the Great Hamster of Alsace, which can grow to 25cm long, has a brown and white face, a black belly, white paws and little round ears.

It aims to raise the population of the creature to around 1 500 from 500 to 1 000 currently.

As part of the $4.2m project announced on Monday by Alsace's regional council, farmers have pledged to grow plants or grains that the rodent likes, such as wheat or alfalfa on parts of their fields.

An action plan for the hamster had been put in place in 2007, but the European Court of Justice ruled in 2011 that France was still not doing enough to protect the furball, which hibernates for six months and spends the vast majority of its life alone.

The hamster has been protected legally since 1993 but its numbers fell from 1 167 in 2001 to as few as 161 in 2007, although they have since gone up slightly.

The preferred grazing of the creature, forage crops such as alfalfa have largely been replaced by the more profitable maize, which it does not like.

Farmers will therefore try planting a mix of maize and alfalfa, or leaving strips of plants in between each line of maize.

"The aim is to find innovative, practices to preserve the animal without harming farmers' activities", the regional council said in a statement.

Rampant urbanisation has also contributed to eroding the rodent's population, and the hamster currently lives in just 14 zones in Alsace criss-crossed by busy thoroughfares.
Read more on:    france  |  conservation  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.