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Independent.ie

Friday 9 December 2016

Farmers and shooting clubs can control mink - Minister

Published 06/11/2016 | 13:00

An American Mink is about the size of a small cat but has a long body, a small head, very short legs and a long bushy tail.
An American Mink is about the size of a small cat but has a long body, a small head, very short legs and a long bushy tail.

Wild mink are not a protected species and they can be controlled by farmers, landowners, game shooting clubs and others, according to Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys.

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The Minister was asked this week about her views on the control measures on the feral mink population in the Munster area in particular and the success rates of same.

Minister Humphreys said a study commissioned by her Department, published in 2009, estimated the population of wild mink in the State could reach a total of between 20,500 and 33,500 individuals, and identified ground-nesting birds as the species most vulnerable to mink predation.

“In this regard, and as full eradication is not considered possible at this time, my Department is concentrating its priorities on protecting the nesting sites of rare and threatened bird species, including vulnerable seabirds, waders and terns, corncrake, and grey partridge, from a range of predators, including mink.”

The Minister said the Department carries out predator control programmes on land it owns or manages and this includes mink where the need is identified.

In Munster, she said the Blasket Islands have been targeted as they are important for breeding manx shearwater which nests in burrows.

Her Department has also provided funding to the NARGC as well as mink traps to local groups in some areas to assist them in their work and will continue to target trapping in priority areas within the resources available.

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