There has been yet more success on the mink front, with another youngster caught this morning on the bridge by the house. It has been surprising to find mink living in such high densities on the river, and it would be interesting to find out what kind of numbers are “normal”. Asking around neighbours, I learned that there was a mink farm in the nearby town in the 1970s, and many individuals managed to escape from their cages during the management of the business. These may have been the original forefathers of the current population, but I think that current high numbers say more about the suitability of local habitat than any historical influence.
Trapping is slow, methodical work. There is little glory or fun to be had, but there is some consolation to be taken from the fact that it is quite easy. Mink are not suspicious or hard to predict, but the satisfaction of successful trapping is balanced by the necessary dispatch of a beautiful and unfortunately misplaced animal.
There is much to be gained from trapping mink. It’s ambitious for me to clear this entire water catchment of invasive predators on my own, but I have been pleased to discuss my progress with neighbours and other local folk – many had assumed that mink had vanished from Galloway, and some are now thinking about running some traps again. It would be nice to kickstart a local eradication programme across a larger area, as this would start to have some really positive impacts for local wildlife.