The European Commission has brought a case against Paris in the European Court for allowing the Great Hamster of Alsace, the only wild hamster in western Europe, to decline to the point of extinction.
If found guilty, the French government faces fines of up to €17m (£14.5m) – or €68,000 for each of the 250 animals still thought to be living in the fields around the city of Strasbourg in the east of the country.
The Great Hamster, European hamster or Cricetus cricetus is much larger, and prettier, than its familiar domesticated cousins. It has a brown and white face, a black belly and white paws and can grow to be 10in long.
28 June 2009
Nice to see that, notwithstanding the credit crunch, the recession, etc, etc, the EU still has time for other important matters. The Independent reports: