The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality requires that the Dutch population of European hamster is surveyed each year. This consists of a census of inhabited burrows in the various known habitats patches. The European hamster is present only in the southern part of the province of Limburg and has a preference for arable farmland where cereals or alfalfa are grown. In 2002 the hamster was reintroduced into areas with a specially adapted cropland management regime. In recent years attempts have been made to find new forms of hamster friendly land management practices which can be easily integrated into the farm management and are cheaper to carry out. The area of hamster friendly arable land with suitable habitat is currently more than 700 hectares. Monitoring of the hamster population by means of burrow counts and tagged animals shows that in practice hamsters struggle to survive long enough to produce sufficient litters to enable the population to grow. The latest censuses indicate that there are fewer than 200 inhabited burrows spread over approx. 20 kilometre grids. The hamster population is therefore still critically endangered and restocking remains necessary.