Species (common & Scientific name)American Mink (Mustela vison) Native to:North America Introduced to:Britain in the 1920’s Reasons for introduction: Fur farming Consequences of introduction:The American Mink was first imported to Britain in the 1920’s when the fur farming industry became established and they eventually began to escape or perhaps were deliberately released into the wild. In the 1990’s animal rights activists were involved in a mass release of American mink from fur farms but the population of wild American mink had already been established years earlier in the 1960’s/1970’s. By the 1950s the number of fur farms expanded and hundreds of American Mink were being shipped into Britain, “As many as 700 in a single shipment” (Lever, 2009). By 1962 there were thought to be about 700 fur farms in Britain (Lever, 2009). A ban on fur farming came into force on 1st January 2003.
Although the number of fur farms declined by 1970 – to just 54 (Lever, 2009) – the American Mink were breeding in the wild and expanding their range. “They are predators, killing a wide variety of principally water-side animals – anything from small frogs and fish to water voles and moorhens” (Anon, 2018). The water vole has been the most seriously impacted animal by the introduction of the American mink. The water vole’s habitat had already become reduced due to agriculture (Macdonald and Service, 2009) and environmental changes, making them more at risk from American mink as the American Mink will enter the water (water voles had already adapted and taken to the water to escape stoats) as they are semi aquatic and they are also lithe and supple enough to enter burrows, which the water vole would use to escapeand hide from other predators such as the otter. The water vole may become extinct in Britain if the habitats that are occupied by the water vole are not kept free from American mink.Control attempted by:Live trapping and shooting, Kill trapping, Snares.Due to the reestablishment of the otter population, the mink population is in