Call for volunteers to tackle invasive American mink in South Aberdeenshire - NatureScot

a dark brown, wet American Mink with shining eyes and a white chin
SISI - American Mink ©NatureScot

A major invasive species project working in South Aberdeenshire is appealing for volunteers to help protect native wildlife by monitoring and controlling populations of introduced American mink.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative – the largest invasive non-native species control project in the British Isles - has been tackling non-native invasive species in northern Scotland since 2018. Last year, the project was awarded £2.08 million from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund to continue its work until at least 2026. It is a partnership project managed by NatureScot and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, in partnership with 10 Fishery Trusts and the University of Aberdeen. The project is now looking to recruit new volunteers to expand and improve its American mink detection and control network across the north of Scotland.

The American mink was brought to Scotland for fur-farming in 1938 and, following both escapes and deliberate releases, became established in the wild in the 1960s. Mink are voracious and opportunistic predators taking whatever prey is available to them - often killing more than they require for food at that time. Their presence in the countryside has devastating effects on native biodiversity, particularly ground nesting birds and water vole populations. Water voles are the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal and predation by the American mink is a major cause of their decline.

Jan Simpson, Scottish Invasive Species Initiative Project Officer for the Dee and the Don rivers, said: “American mink pose a serious threat to Scottish wildlife, which, in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, is already struggling. Mink can wipe out local populations of birds and mammals – removing this threat is a vital step to safeguarding the future of native wildlife in Scotland.”

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Posted On: 02/04/2024

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