Nature organisations sue Flemish government to avoid extinction of wild hamster

The nature conservation organisations Bird Conservation Flanders and Dryade are launching a lawsuit against the Flemish government to save the wild hamster from extinction. Policymakers have been warned repeatedly but their efforts remain systematically inadequate, the organisations said on Friday.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the wild hamster was common in Flanders. Today, the species is as good as extinct. The decline is caused by the degradation of its habitat due to increasingly intensive agriculture and monotonous cultivation in rapid succession. The organisations warn that the hamster's habitat is so fragmented that it is in danger of disappearing completely.

The wild hamster is listed in Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive and counts as a protected species in Flanders. Despite this, the government is failing to protect it, the organisations say. "The Flemish government has hardly taken any emergency measures. As a result, there is a real chance that the last remaining hamster population in Flanders will also disappear."

The organisations are therefore forced to take the Flemish government to court, to ensure the survival of the species in Flanders, they say.


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