Hamburg Mammal Atlas
Hamburg Mammal Atlas
Mammals in Hamburg
Mammals in Hamburg come in all shapes and sizes. Defying steady growth and urbanization, animals range from mighty red deer and grey seals to the tiny soprano pipistrelle bats and pygmy shrews. Many animals, like hazel dormice and Brandt’s bats, are categorized as extremely rare. White-toothed shrews had even been listed as extinct since 1900, until their existence was verified in Hamburg again. Increasing water quality and better connections between bodies of water have allowed beavers and otters to return to their old Hamburg habitats. Some foreign mammals like raccoons, raccoon dogs and nutrias have also been introduced in the city’s biosphere. Even otherwise endangered species, like brown hares, maintain stable populations in Hamburg. Boar have even become a nuisance in some residential areas.
The Mammal Atlas
All of these findings result from research that was conducted towards the creation of the Hamburg Mammal Atlas. The 185 pages of the reader contain profiles, photos and distribution maps of 54 species endemic in Hamburg. In order to create the atlas, all mammal activity has been counted over a course of four years. As a next step, further data was gathered from a number of different sources, including numerous volunteering environmentalists.
In total, research proves that the overall situation for mammals in Hamburg has changed only slightly in comparison to the last release in 2002. Eight species were more endangered in 2016, while eight other species were rated less endangered. This is generally seen as a good sign, as Hamburg has grown significantly since then.
Mammals and Structural Change
Comparably rural areas like Wohldorf-Ohlstedt have still proven especially biodiverse. However, more central green areas are also important refuges for mammal populations. Just like everywhere else, structural changes affect mammalian wildlife. Some species suffer significantly from the results of industrialisation, agriculture, and disconnected landscapes. Even species that are closely linked to human population, such as mice and rats, are highly or critically endangered, often due to a loss of natural habitats e.g. in the port area. Other species benefit from city planning measures. For instance, subsidised construction of rental housing is required by the municipality to include habitats for bats in the building structure.
A strong focus on nature reserves is also key to maintaining a healthy fauna. Plans have been finalised for three reserves since 2015 and eleven more are being devised. For all nature reserves, plans will be finalised by 2018. By then, a total of 9,5% of Hamburg’s surface area will be constituted by nature reserves, still making Hamburg the top-ranking federal state in this regard.