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North West Highlands Mink Control Project: Update, December 2009

Posted: Wednesday 2 December, 2009 @ 19:13:11


by Lois Canham (Mink Project Officer)


The North West Highlands Mink Control Project has now been running for about six months.  In this time a ‘cordon sanitaire’ from the East coast at Dornoch to the West coast at Ullapool has been successfully established, comprising of mink rafts approximately every 5km in freshwaters and tracking tunnels approximately every 1km on accessible coastal areas.  Raft placement has focussed on rivers Carron, Kyle of Sutherland, Fleet, Oykel, Runie, Ullapool and Kanaird. 


In addition, a large number of mink rafts have been placed to the south of the ‘cordon sanitaire’ line focussing on the Conon and Beauly catchments. 


No mink have been found present on any raft or tracking tunnel in the ‘cordon sanitaire’, although signs of otter and water vole have been recorded on the rafts.  However, during November a mink was caught on a fish farm north of Ullapool, just outwith the ‘cordon sanitaire’ line.  This is the farthest north mink have been officially recorded in recent times.  It is possible that it was a single dispersing juvenile from a population in the south (juveniles can travel over 50km in search for new territories) but it could be representative of an establishing population.  More thorough survey of the area is taking place to find out if there are any other mink present.  


Signs of mink have been repeatedly seen on rafts in the Beauly and Ness catchments with a number successfully trapped earlier in the year.  There was little movement of mink earlier in the autumn dispersal period but a number of mink have now been caught on the River Beauly.  Overall, it has been a quieter year for mink in this area.  


Plans for 2010 include increasing rafts coverage in the south of the project area, expanding the project area to include the River Nairn (on which mink are very much established) and establishing the invasion front of mink on the west coast. 


For further information about the project or if you have seen American mink in the North West Highlands please contact Lois Canham, Mink Project Officer on 07920 589 020 or email .


Further information:


NW Highlands Mink Project Autumn 2009 Newsletter (available from the Project Officer or at following link to NW Highlands page). 


American Mink in the Highlands - Information Leaflet (as above or find on Downloads page)