Spain’s European mink in danger

This European mink is constantly tracked Credit: LIFE LUTREOLA SPAIN

Much is said about the potential loss of the Iberian Lynx which has protected status in Spain, but more endangered is the European mink.

Possibly as few as 142 in Spain

Research suggests that there may be as few as 142 living examples in Spain although other estimates are more optimistic at around 500 but whatever the number, this furry little mammal is in danger of disappearing completely.

There are believed to be some colonies in Russia, Eastern Europe, Southern France and Northern Spain and each has the potential to be eradicated.

One of their biggest problems is that the American mink (from which mink coats were made) were imported into Europe to feed the need for expensive coats and wraps, but closely related to weasels many escaped from mink farms and adapted well to the European climate.

These feral mink and bigger and more aggressive than their European cousins and over the years have turned on the local mink, killing them and their kits.

One of the reasons for the huge growth in feral mink is that they aren’t as protective of their territory as the European mink (Mustela lutreola) and therefore there are more of them in a single area, breeding much faster than the European.

Humans have their part to play

Naturally humans have also played their part in taking over their preferred habitats near rivers where the mink used to feast on frogs, insects, mice and even rabbits but  having declared the European mink as being “in critical situation” in 2018, the Spanish Government is endeavouring to protect this rare indigenous species.

Special groups are checking their whereabouts and whenever possible catching them and fixing tracking devices to them before releasing them back into the wild.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page