The Red List of the World Conservation Union is a list of endangered animal and plant species. It is updated every year.
Now there is a species that has been on Earth for 2000 years. If the field hamster is not helped, animal rights activists warn that it will be completely gone in 30 years.
The field hamster, which has become very rare in Germany, is now officially threatened with extinction in its entire distribution area. This emerges from the new Red List of Endangered Animal and Plant Species of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
Species of lemurs and a right whale in the Atlantic are now threatened with extinction, as the IUCN reported in Gland near Geneva.
The field hamster (Cricetus cricetus) is already strictly protected in the European Union, but at IUCN it has so far not been considered endangered due to the lack of surveys.
Conservationists had thought that there were still plenty of cute-looking rodents in Eastern Europe and Russia.
That was a fallacy.
“If nothing changes, the European hamster will die out in the next 30 years,” warns the IUCN now. “As it turned out, the catastrophe reaches as far as Siberia,” says field hamster expert Stefanie Monecke from the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich.
Between the Alsace and the Jenissei river in Siberia, the field hamsters were once at home millions of times. The “architects under the field” were a plague for farmers because they tunneled fields and ate up crops.
For each hamster killed, premiums were paid to deal with the plague. In the Halle, Germany, district alone, tens of thousands of dead animals were delivered in the 1950s, says Monecke.
“There are estimates that the population has declined by 99 percent since the 1950s and there are only 10,000 specimens left across Germany.”