France spending millions to save hamster population

The French government has introduced a five-year, three-million euro plan to help save the Great...

The French government has introduced a five-year, three-million euro plan to help save the Great Hamster of Alsace, one of Europe's most threatened creatures. WIKIPEDIA IMAGE/QMI AGENCY

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:47 PM ET

France is spending three million euros to save one of Europe's most threatened creatures - the great hamster of Alsace.

The money will be spent over five years to increase the rodents' population, which is currently between 500 and 1,000, to around 1,500, AFP reports.

To help the population, farmers in the Alsace region have pledged to grow plants and grains the rodents prefer, such as alfalfa and wheat, on their fields, AFP reports.

The hamster has been protected since 1993 and a plan has been in place since 2007 - when the population dropped to 161 - but the European Court of Justice ruled in 2011 France wasn't doing enough to protect the animal, AFP reports.

The five-year project was announced Monday.

The furballs can grow to 25 cm long, has a brown and white face, a black belly, white paws, small round ears and hibernates for six months of the year.


Videos

Photos