I cannot imagine why he does it. The Great Hamster of Alsace, which is the name given to a wild creature (Cricetus cricetus) is about 10 inches long and weighs about a pound. It roams the fields near Wittenheim, France. While it's black belly and golden appearance might make it cute, especially when it stands up on its back legs and roars, it is hard to imagine why Jean-Paul Burget has devoted his life to saving it. Due to a number of environmental factors the Great Hamster population, which used to number in the thousands, is down to about 500 according to a newspaper story I read. This news is so disquieting to Mr. Burget that he quit his job at a zoo and took up a part-time job as a street sweeper so he could devote every afternoon to saving the Great Hamster population. He is committed to doing all he can to, as he puts it, "fight to the last hamster." What's more, Mr. Burget is not alone in this quest. He has set up a foundation for saving animals and others have caught the vision for the mission.
Julie Ledet, only 31 years old, has been at the task of saving hamsters for 10 years. Her toughest month of the year just ended. You see, each March the hamsters mate. Ms. Ledet discovered something special about the female hamsters one March. She is breeding the hamsters in captivity to enhance the chances for survival of the species. She drops a male into a female's cage in an effort to create a reproductive moment, if you know what I mean. If the female doesn't take a liking to a male's amorous advances, Ms Ledet discovered, the female tries to kill the male. The female will fight the male to the death if given the chance. Now, in the wild fields of France the spurned male can turn and run, but in captivity's cages there is no escape. Ms. Ledet's colleague, Julien Hoffman, is working on a special double cage design to allow the male to escape. The problem is, there are just the two of them, Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Ledet, to keep track of hundreds of the fighting couples. So, for Great Hamster advocates, March is busier that tax season for accountants. The difference is, according to Mr. Hoffman, "This is not about making money, it's about saving the species.”
Why do people quit their jobs to save hamsters? Don’t they realize they that no one really cares? Unless, of course, the God does. Now that would make it worthwhile.
I’m counting on that being true. How about you?