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Help wanted on Black Isle and in Easter Ross in fight against American mink

By Staff Reporter

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A mink raft.
A mink raft.

AN animal project is calling for volunteers in Easter Ross to help safeguard native wildlife against invasive mink.

The Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) is looking for help with its scheme monitoring mink populations in the area. Following breeding earlier in the year, the species’ juveniles will be on the move, looking for territories of their own.

An invasive species, American minks were introduces to Scotland for fur farming, but escaped into the wild. Their fierce nature means they pose a major threat to native wildlife.

Lynn McKelvey, with the Cromarty Firth Fishery Trust, said: “We monitor for mink presence using a network of mink rafts which are looked after by volunteers. We already have a great volunteer team running rafts for us, but we have gaps in the network we’d like to fill – in particular, we’d love more help along the Cromarty Firth.”

No previous experience is required. Mink rafts contain a clay pad which records footprints.

Once a raft is set up the volunteer just needs to check it for footprints every couple of weeks.

If mink are detected a live capture trap is set and the mink caught before being humanely dispatched by the project team.

Anyone in the Cromarty, Invergordon, Alness and Evanton areas who is interested in getting involved should email Lynn McKelvey at mckelvey.lynn1@gmail.com or visit www.invasivespecies.scot

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