A 9-month extension for LIFE Alister

30 January 2018
 

During a visit from the European Commission in September 2016, the LIFE Unit representatives within the Commission were very satisfied with the work accomplished by LIFE Alister, which was qualified as being very ambitious. They therefore suggested that the programme be extended in order to complete certain actions which are behind schedule but which are sure to be successful.

The uncertainties in projects

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Representatives of the European Commission’s LIFE Unit in September 2016

Various reasons explain the extension, mainly in two areas: agronomic trials and tests to introduce European Hamsters into urban periphery habitats. The results of trials in the farming world are dependent on the weather and LIFE Alister’s first years were particularly difficult, with exceptional droughts in 2014 and 2015, which meant the results were misleading. In matters of agronomic experiments, it is commonly agreed that techniques should be tested over a minimum of 5 years before being offered as a solution to farmers. The extension will thus enable the pertinence of the results to be established.

Starting work in urban periphery areas was also delayed due to the legal context that prevented the authorisations to release European Hamsters in urban periphery zones from being granted for the first three years of the project. The new ministerial ruling published on 9 December 2016 meant the authorisations could be granted in June 2017. The survival rate of the hamsters released will be evaluated before hibernation (September 2017) and then after hibernation (spring 2018). The extension will enable a more detailed analysis of the results before drawing up the recommendations guide for introducing the hamsters into an urban environment.

Creating momentum

This LIFE project based on co-constructing a balance of human activity and protection of the European Hamster is indeed a tireless venture. The partners have managed to set the various parties in motion and overcome many difficulties; they have welcomed the extension with open arms. LIFE Alister is therefore extended until 31 March 2019, which will enable the actions to be completed and suitable guidelines for the protection of the European Hamster within Europe to be drawn up as originally planned, according to the European Commission’s request.

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