The story of 25 years of hamster conservation in the Netherlands
The European hamster is not doing well. This critically endangered rodent has a strong preference for cereal fields or fields with alfalfa. These plots offer the species cover and food in the breeding season. The intensification of agriculture, along with other factors, has caused the population size and range of the species to decline sharply in the second half of the 20th century.
The species is critically endangered, especially in the western part of its range. In the early 2000s, it was therefore clear in the Netherlands that there was a need for a breeding and reintroduction programme. Between 1997 and 2022, other essential conservation measures were also developed and optimised through research and evaluation. These measures focus on increasing the population size, and habitat quality and quantity of the species.
INBO studied the status of the hamster in the Netherlands at the request of the Province of Limburg (NL). The report describes 25 years of active protection of the hamster in the Netherlands, and also provides insights into what hamster protection should look like in the future.
Sanne Van Donink, Kristof Baert
Read the report (in Dutch): Van Donink S, Baert K. (2023). De Europese hamster (Cricetus cricetus) in Nederland - Evaluatie van 25 jaar hamsterbescherming en -beleid. Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek 2023 (18). Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussel. DOI: 10.21436/inbor.93612311
Photo: Rollin Verlinde - Vildaphoto