Turning local efforts into a cohesive movement

Mink Mapp will bring projects together creating a unified response nationwide

Mink threatens ecosystem balance

Endangering water vole populations

The American mink (Neovison vison) is an alien invasive species throughout the UK and beyond, classified as a damaging non-native species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). A generalist predator, it has had a significant negative impact on the water vole (Arvicola amphibius) with whom it has regularly encountered along water margins, resulting in decline and loss of water voles in up to 97% of previously occupied sites [i][ii].

Coordinated local efforts achieve national impacts

Stopping mink in their tracks

There has been a concerted effort to control American mink numbers in various areas throughout the UK via the deployment of Game Conservancy Trust Mink Rafts [iii], and more recently using ‘smart’ rafts which incorporate the use of technology to send a message to a trap operator when the trap has been triggered [iv].

However, much of the control to date has been undertaken by small, independent projects that rarely link up with others in the vicinity to form a cohesive approach. Exceptions to this generalisation include the Waterlife Recovery East project, a collective project working in eastern England, and the Scottish Mink control project [vi], as well as some larger Wildlife Trusts. Nonetheless, there remains large swathes of England within which the status of mink control is currently unknown, making any strategic plan for eradication impossible. As such, there is desperate need for a unified approach to understanding the extent and location of current invasive American mink control if water voles are to remain a much-loved part of the UK’s native fauna.

The Mink Mapp approach

To prevent mink from invading new areas

To achieve this unified approach, financial backing has been obtained to facilitate the development of a mink control project database and to engage with mink control projects across the country, regardless of individual scale. The Mink MApp smartphone app allows mink control practitioners to set up their private project to which only they and their associated team have access. The Mink MApp will have ‘umbrella rights’ access to all data to understand the current situation regarding mink monitoring nationally, and conversely where gaps in such monitoring occur geographically. Individual projects will be able to download their personal project information, thereby saving time and potential errors associated with converting field notes into spreadsheet data or chasing landowners and other volunteers for information.

The aim is to provide a robust basis to aid the development of a nationwide strategy by highlighting established ‘nodes’ from which further control may be extended in a planned and cohesive manner. By collating information from individual projects, we can work together towards national American mink eradication which will have a significant positive impact on the conservation status of water voles throughout the UK.

Unifying current mink control initiatives, regardless of size
Encouraging the initiation of new projects
Providing a robust basis from which to develop a nationwide strategy