In the 20th century, ordinary hamsters (Cricetus cricetus)crowds ran across the steppes of Europe and Russia, considered agricultural pests. They were as many creatures as rats and squirrels - it seemed that they would never face extinction. Only here, humanity, with its love of pesticides and deforestation with the subsequent construction of bright high-rise buildings, could harm even these tiny creatures. Unexpectedly for all of us, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) included hamsters in the list of animals that are on the verge of extinction. It turned out that due to the hindsight of people, over the past two decades they have begun to produce few offspring and are almost never found in some regions of our planet. So have hamsters become as rare animals as black rhinos?
Extinction of animals
About the risk of the disappearance of hamsters from the face of our planetwas told on the Red List website. These rodents live on the territory of Eurasia and are found even on the steppes of Russia. Their body length reaches 34 centimeters and at the same time they have an 8-centimeter tail with short hair. The soft hair of hamsters is painted in a reddish color, which clearly helps them disguise themselves against the background of steppe vegetation. During the day, hamsters hide in burrows, and go out at dusk to eat plant foods, and sometimes to hunt insects and even mice. Sometimes they make their way to storages with grains, which is why they are referred to as pests.
IUCN researchers recently assessedHamster populations from around the world. It was found that in the course of a couple of decades there were so few of them that they could acquire the conservation status of “verge of extinction” (CR). Until now, these rodents have been animals of the least concern.
IUCN Security Statuses:
- Disappeared (EX);
- "Extinct in the Wild" (EW);
- “Endangered” (CR);
- Disappearing (EN);
- Vulnerable (VU)
- “Near Endangered” (NT)
- Least Concerned (LC);
- Data Lack (DD);
- Unvalued (NE).
According to the researchers, hamsters have changed theirstatus is very dramatic. In addition to them, CR status is also assigned to black rhinos (Diceros bicornis). At the moment, in the world there are only about 5000 rhinos of this species. But this means that there are also several thousand hamsters left. The fact is that researchers from IUCN give protection statuses not only based on the number of individuals in nature. When making calculations, they also take into account the possible risks of extinction.
See also: Humanity may disappear due to the extinction of insects
And reasons to believe that hamsters face extinction,lots of. One of the main reasons for the decline in their population is the changes that are taking place in the agricultural sector. To protect crops from pests, farmers are increasingly using toxic substances that enter the bodies of all rodents - hamsters are not on the list of exceptions. Also, climate change and light pollution could affect the number of hamsters. It is believed that the bright lights of urban houses can affect the sleep patterns of many animals and lead to their death.
According to researchers, in the XX century, females of hamsters on average brought twenty cubs at a time. And now the average number of cubs has decreased to five.
To save hamsters from extinction, researchersthey want to study more carefully in which regions of our planet there are fewer of them. Then they will remove part of the animals from the territories in which they thrive, and transport them to the affected areas. Such events are already being held in several countries like Germany and France.
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In the course of the study, scientists found otheranimals that are on the verge of extinction. For example, the so-called smooth whales (Eubalaena glacialis) are at risk of extinction. Once upon a time, their population increased due to the ban on whale hunting. However, recently these creatures die, colliding with ships and entangled in networks. At the moment, only about 250 smooth whales remain in the world.