The Roborovski Hamster was first discovered in July 1894 by Lt Roborosky in Nan Shan. It does not appear to have been kept in captivity until the 1970s when it was kept in the USSR, notably by Moscow Zoo. The Zoological Society of London obtained the Roborovski Hamster in the late 1970s from Moscow Zoo but unfortunately these did not breed.
Roborovski Hamsters were obtained by some European countries from the Moscow Zoo and other scientific Institutes within the former Soviet Union and were imported into the UK by a hamster fancier from Holland in 1990. It is believed that some zoos in the US may have also obtained Roborovskis but it would appear that they did not breed successfully. In 1998 a group of Roborovski Hamsters were imported by a hamster fancier into the US from the UK. Further Roborovskis were caught from the wild in 1997-98 but unfortunately failed to breed and died soon after importation due to stress.