what will be the next animals to become extinct or endangered? Jun 4, 2022 10:29:19 GMT gillan1220 likes this
Post by stevep on Jun 4, 2022 10:29:19 GMT
The wild rodent – classified as 'critically endangered' – has been surviving for more than 10 years thanks to the continual reintroduction of farmed animals. A long battle with an uncertain future.
A curious hunt took place on May 13, in the town of Geispolsheim, a few kilometers from Strasbourg. Under a gray sky, legs moving through wheat wettened by the first rains of the month, the beaters advanced. Spaced a few meters apart, they beat plastic containers with sticks. A choreography all the stranger because the noise was largely drowned out by the cars on the Strasbourg-Mulhouse highway, which borders the plot of land. But human ears are not the object of this operation. "This is a prerequisite for the release of the hamsters," said Marie Frolinger, head of conservation at the Naturoparc in Hunawihr in the Haut-Rhin department, close to Switzerland and Germany. Ms. Frolinger was coordinating the troops on the ground this morning. "We make sure that there are no foxes or other predators on the plot. Then we proceed to the release. Be careful not to crush the wheat too much, especially around the pre-burrows, otherwise the rodents will be too easy a target for birds of prey. And beware of bites, these are wild animals. Next, we'll run electricity through the fences."
Around her, everyone is listening, even if almost all of them know the score. Not the forest ranger, who took up his post last year, nor the road workers, who prepared the pre-burrows. But most of the others are on their third, fifth or even tenth release. Everyone has showed up for the first of the four releases of the season, which will set a total of 500 rodents free: various government services, the chamber of agriculture, the owners of the plots, the scientists involved in the program, employees of the various breeding farms and even a German TV channel, eager to compare French methods for repopulating the endangered species with those applied on the other side of the Rhine.
Once the hunt is over, the essential operation begins. In groups of three or four, the crew walks the length of the plot. Orange stakes indicate the location of the pre-burrows, dug to receive the animals. One vertical hole, another one slanting, as the species is accustomed to do. "This is to give them an initial shelter and get them used to the outside, later they will go and dig their hole elsewhere," said Fabrice Capber, the vet who supervises the breeding.
From the "skewer" where they are suspended, a first cage is unhooked, turned over, then the bottom is opened. More or less willingly, the rodents fall into the 80-centimeter hole, where a few kibbles, a piece of apple and a carrot await them. The more reluctant ones are given a nudge, or rather a blow on the snout. "I was bitten once, I ended up in the emergency room, I won't be fooled again," said Mr. Capber. Two clods of earth are used to block the burrow, which the most daring will break through after a few minutes, others after several patient hours or more.
And we move on to the next. One male, one female, alternating, siblings never in close proximity, all fitted with an identification chip. "We want to increase the chances of reproduction and avoid the risk of inbreeding," said Caroline Habold, director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France’s state research organization, who has been involved for ten years in this last-ditch attempt to save the wild hamster by strengthening its population. It is also an opportunity to study its behavior and physiology in the lab.
Sounds like the giant hamster unlikely the vaquita is getting the aid it needs to have a chance to survive. Hopefully the people involved will carry on with this and it will be successful.