LIFE ALISTER - Alsace Life hamSTER : Demonstration project to preserve european biodiversity in Alsace

LIFE12 BIO/FR/000979

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Sarah PINKELE
Fax: 33388156999
Email: sarah.pinkele@region-alsace.eu

Project description:


The common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) is a protected species emblematic to the biodiversity of the Alsace region. Since 2000, specific actions have been undertaken to provide the right conditions for its development. However, the viability of hamster populations remains under threat as a consequence of many pressures, including farming practices, urban development and infrastructure projects. The common hamster is still considered as a pest, rather than an element of biodiversity, by the majority of the inhabitants in Alsace.

Recent years have seen an increasing number of trials in France and elsewhere to improve the hamster’s protection. Those works have led to the identification of practices that could eventually ensure the protection of the species in France. However, these innovations remain to be tested under real-life conditions.


The ALISTER project aims to test the relevance, effectiveness and pre-conditions for innovative actions targeting an improvement in the viability of hamster populations in Alsace. The project is structured around four objectives:

  • Improving the habitat of the common hamster, by testing promising farming practices under real-life conditions so that the right habitat is provided in space and over time;
  • Reconnecting hamster populations by testing adaptations to wildlife crossings that will increase the efficiency of this infrastructure;
  • Creating new development opportunities for hamster populations by testing the introduction of hamsters in urban/peri-urban areas; and
  • Strengthening people’s awareness and social acceptance of the value of the hamster and its importance for biodiversity.
  • The proposed actions will complement other public interventions aimed at protecting the hamster in Alsace.

    Expected results: The project expects to contribute to the improvement of the hamster habitat and populations in Alsace by:

  • Testing two-to-five new farming practices that are favourable to hamster development with the aim of improving the number of litters per female from one to three and the survival rate of females by 10%;
  • Implementing the most promising farming practices on 15 ha of utilised agricultural area (UAA), so that the effectiveness of protection actions already taken in the agriculture sector in larger areas (around 300 ha) is greatly enhanced;
  • Improving the habitat continuity in proximity to transport infrastructure, with an expected increase of 40% in hamster crossings along with a 70% reduction in their mortality due to predation;
  • Introducing common hamsters in selected sites within the urban area of Strasbourg under conditions that ensure the viability of the individuals released; and
  • Improving the public’s perception and acceptance of the need for hamster protection with 5 000 inhabitants of Alsace targeted by awareness-raising activities.

    These results, combined with the evaluation of impacts of concrete actions and the strong involvement of all interested parties will lead to recommendations to support the dissemination of results to the Alsace plain and to other EU countries.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Ecological coherence


endangered species‚  agricultural method‚  biodiversity‚  nature conservation

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The “Région Alsace” is a French territorial community whose authority includes urban and land-use planning, regional economic development, vocational training, apprenticeship, management of schools and regional trains. It also shares authorities (such as environmental protection, culture, tourism) with other communities.
Partners ACTeon, France CNRS, France Chambre Régionale d'Agriculture d'Alsace, France Groupe d'Etude et de Protection des Mammifères d'Alsace (GEPMA), France Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage, France


Project reference LIFE12 BIO/FR/000979
Duration 01-JUL-2013 to 31-MAR -2019
Total budget 3,096,873.00 €
EU contribution 1,548,436.00 €
Project location Alsace(France)


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Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version