Interesting article. Prior to the 1930s, hamsters were pretty much in the wild. Prior to the 1970s, virtually all were descended from one breeding pair.
Now, one million hamsters are kept as pets, an increase of 41 percent since 2001. (This includes the two sitting on the shelf in our house!)
Sadly, though, some 200,000 hamsters were used for research in the United States in 2000, third behind rats and mice.