Mole-rat Reserve of Baja
Area: 114 ha
Legal declaration by Decree No. 7/2017. FM
Biogeographic region: Upper Backa
The purpose of protection here is the conservation and maintenance of the largest known population of Lesser Mole-rat, an endemic species to the Carpathian Basin. Besides, the protection of the fragments of the formerly widespread forest-steppe habitats is also among the goals. Lesser Mole-rat is a blind subterranean mammal, living in full darkness. For underground orientation and communication with other individuals, they knock with their forehead on the wall of their tunnels. The vibrations they make help them to detect obstacles in the ground and the presence of conspecific individuals. Lesser Mole-rat is among the rarest mammals on Earth, occurring only in four locations (Baja, Subotica, Kelebia-Ásotthalom and Albertirsa) and has a total population of 600-700 individuals. Two populations (near Baja and in the area around Kelebia and Ásotthalom) are located in the Kiskunság National Park, while one is in Vojvodina Province, Serbia. The site near Baja is presently the only protected area in the world established solely for the protection of this species. According to present knowledge, the largest confluent population lives here, as the population near Kelebia comprises several isolated subpopulations. The vitality of the Baja population is indicated by its increase since its discovery.
Lesser Mole-rat is the most threatened vertebrate of Hungary. According to the IUCN Red List, it is a critically endangered rodent and is endemic to the Carpathian Basin. It is strictly protected in Hungary; its value according to the law is 1,000,000 Ft/individual.
Another nature conservation purpose of the reserve is the protection of the diverse wildlife (including species and habitats of community importance) of forest-steppe fragments, in particular closed and open sand steppes, native shrubby and forested habitats and wet meadows. Our aim is to maintain suitable ecological conditions and a favourable nature conservation status for all these unique values.