This American mink was spotted at Almondbank during a recent walkover by our ECoW.

Mink are dark-coloured, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes weasels, otters and ferrets.

American mink first arrived in Britain in 1929, but only in commercial fur farms. A widespread misconception is that the UK’s wild population of American mink originated from mass releases of mink from fur farms by animal rights activists in the 1990s. whilst this contributed, the wild population was established decades earlier from multiple escapes and mink were first reported to be breeding wild in the UK in 1956. Today it is virtually impossible to estimate the number of mink living in our waterways.

American Mink in the wild are linked to the severe decline in native wildlife particularly of water vole, white-clawed crayfish and kingfishers. Mass control efforts are being used to trap and remove mink from the wild.

In the UK, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild. Any live mink caught in traps must be humanely killed

Stewart Parsons