This year’s Mammal of the Year is the ground squirrel, and now we may get to know better this highly protected rodent of significant environmental value. Within the scope of the ‘Nature Watch’ program of the Ministry of Agriculture, the photo exhibition of Bálint Vincze will be a main event. The photo exhibition aims to present the life of the ground squirrels of Paks up, close and personal. One of his photographs has won 3rd. place in the category of „Nature and science (singular)” of the 33rd. Hungarian Media Photography Exhibition.
The exhibition – titled „Mammal of the Year 2015 – the ground squirrel” – that opened on 28 May, 2015 at the Hungarian Natural History Museum, allows a look into the life of this funny, but rather elusive, little mammal.
The ground squirrel is under environmental protection, the value of this highly protected rodent is a quarter of a million Hungarian Forints. The ground squirrel breeds just once a year. Even though they live in colonies, each animal has its own underground labyrinth. They look for meals, which mainly contain seeds and other plant parts, in open plains with short grass, but they also enjoy occasionally crickets, may bugs and other arthropods. They can be spotted above ground only during the day. In case of danger the sentinels, who stand on their back feet, whistle their signature warning, while the others quickly scurry back to their underground tunnels.
Bálint Vincze, typographist and photographer of MVM Paks NPP Ltd. has been photographing the rich flora and fauna in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant for many years, among which are the habitants of the Ürgemező of Paks. His pictures have been exhibited in several places of the world, and he has three exclusive photo albums published. His latest work is the children’s book of „Tales of the Ground Squirrel” full of poems and photographs, which presents the riches of the environment and the change of seasons through the everyday life of the ground squirrels of Paks. The book – as well as the exhibition - includes the photo titled „On the chin”, which has won third place in the category of „Nature and science (singular)” of the 33rd. Hungarian Media Photography Exhibition.
The ground squirrels of Paks can be seen not only in Budapest this summer, but also at the lake Balaton: within the ‘Nature Watch’ program, the Ministry of Agriculture has opened the „Mammal of the Year 2015 – the ground squirrel” program with the event titled „A spring picnic with the ground squirrels” at the a Lavender House in Tihany, which also includes the open air photo exhibition of Bálint Vincze. As several events feature the ground squirrel this year, it is almost certain that there will be plenty of opportunities all over the country to get a taste of the life of the ground squirrels of Paks.