american mink


Environmentalists now deem the complete eradication of invasive mink from British waters a “realistic dream”.

The Waterlife Recovery Trust (WRT) has deployed numerous traps in watercourses throughout the East of England, marking a groundbreaking global trial.

The organisation deemed the pilot a triumph, finding no evidence of mink reproduction during the 2023 breeding season.

This success prompts WRT to advocate for extending the initiative nationwide to aid in the resurgence of indigenous wildlife.

Since 1950, water vole populations have plummeted by 97%, largely attributed to mink predation.

Previous eradication attempts faltered due to insufficient funding.

Prof Tony Martin, chair of the WRT said: “Until now, the complete removal of American mink from Britain has been an impossible dream, but the success of this trial offers hope that a century of catastrophic damage to precious native wildlife can be brought to an end.

“It’s now a race against time to eradicate mink before they wipe out the last of our water voles and drive the final nail into the coffin of seabird colonies already hammered by avian influenza.”

However, with 441 “smart cage traps” strategically positioned across Norfolk and Suffolk, bolstered by a 60 km wide exclusion zone spanning parts of Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Lincolnshire, progress is evident.

Buoyed by a £500,000 grant from Natural England, WRT plans to expand its operations from the Thames to mid-Lincolnshire.

Additional funding ensures the maintenance of the trapping infrastructure in Norfolk and Suffolk, vital for thwarting mink infiltration.

Norfolk and Suffolk witnessed initial eradication efforts in 2003, and now, over two decades later, the WRT harbours ambitions of extending its methodology throughout Europe.

“We now have a golden opportunity to fix a problem we’ve inherited and not simply pass on an even more impoverished natural world to the next generation,” Prof Martin added.

“Nature has a remarkable ability to bounce back, given half a chance. Let’s give it that chance.”



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