By Pdreijnders (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Scottish Mink Initiative | Catchment Wide
The Scottish Mink Initiative aims to protect native wildlife, such as water voles, ground nesting birds and economically important populations of salmon and game birds by removing American Mink from North Scotland. A mink raft, designed by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, is used to monitor for mink and can act as a trapping platform once the animals have been positively identified.
What changes can people expect to see in the catchment as a result?
Lowering the population of American Mink will reduce ecological pressure on many important native species, including water voles, wader birds, and salmon.
What benefits do the works have for the catchment, the local community, biodiversity etc.?
Since August 2012, third-one mink have been removed from Tayside, two coming from the South Esk catchment. There are now 27 mink rafts on the River South Esk, monitored by a group of local volunteers. Control of American Mink will improve the ecological stability of the catchment and improve opportunities for economic activities such as angling.
How are you involving the local community?
The Initiative is a volunteer-based project which builds upon the success of the Cairngorm Water Vole Conservation Project, the North East of Scotland Water Vole Project and the North West Highlands Mink Control Project. The mink rafts installed on the River South Esk are managed by a team of local people, with support from the Mink Control Officer.
How does your work link in with other activities in the catchment?
The Scottish Mink Initiative complements other Invasive Non-Native Species projects within the catchment by restoring traditional ecological conditions. Lowering the population of this efficient predator reduces pressure on prey animals, such as wader birds, and reduces competition with native predators, such as the Scottish Wildcat.
The project is ongoing. The first phase was launched in May 2011. The second phase began in September 2013.
The Scottish Mink Initiative is a partnership between the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), Scottish Natural Heritage, the University of Aberdeen, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
How the work fits with local and national policy
The Initiative is part of the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland's Biosecurity and Invasive Non Native Species Programme.