European hamster declared critically endangered

Posted by Imogen Searra on 21 July 2020

There are 26 species of wild hamster found across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, where this animal is facing extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the European Hamster or common hamster, critically endangered.

The rapid decline in this animal’s population has been attributed to climate change, light pollution and agriculture according to National Geographic. France has lost 94% of its original hamster population and Eastern Europe has lost over 75% of theirs, reports Matador Network.

An author of the new IUCN listing and researcher at the Ukraine’s Kyiv Zoo, Mikhail Rusin, spoke to National Geographic and said: ‘If we lose this species, the ecosystem could collapse [and affect human communities, too]. Some people think they’re disconnected with nature, but they’re not.’

The IUCN estimates that the animal will be extinct within 30 years.

These animals are tiny, fierce and play a vital role in the food chain. The European Hamster is an important food source for animals such as the Eurasian eagle owl and European red fox. Their demise could have a knock-on effect for their predators.

Image credit: Twitter @van_strael

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