Animal of the year 202228.01.2022 Local News
Pro Natura has chosen the garden dormouse (eliomys quercinus) as Animal of the Year and thus as an ambassador for wild forests and diverse cultural landscapes.
Garden dormice were originally not necessarily found in gardens but rather in old untouched forests. Its main distribution areas are the Jura and the Alpine region at about 1400m a.s.l. They are primarily nocturnal and active from April to November. They spend almost half of the year sleeping away somewhere in a hiding place, e.g. in a tree or rock cavity, in a bird nesting box or sometimes in an Alpine hut.
By choosing the garden dormouse, Pro Natura wants to draw attention to the limits of the adaptability of native species. The rodent’s original habitat is under severe pressure. The garden dormouse has only survived thanks to its adaptability as a so-called hemerophile. It found a substitute home in traditional cultivated landscapes with large gardens, pasture woods, hedges and extensive high-trunk orchards.
In the 19th century, garden dormice occurred across Switzerland and were more common than their better-known relatives, the European edible dormouse. But for decades, their population has been in sharp decline because they now rarely find wild forests or diverse cultivated landscapes.
BASED ON AVS/BERT INÄBNIT/PRO NATURA