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Mink face eradication

The future of Wales?s killer mink is looking bleak thanks to a co-ordinated effort by conservation agencies to rid the countryside of the pests.

As a result of the new mink control project being run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), it is hoped the decline in the number of water voles will be halted once the indigenous rodents are allowed to breed without threat of predation from mink.

Rob Strachan, from the Environment Agency, was enthusiastic about the potential for using the methods to trap mink in other areas of the country: ?The Environment Agency is encouraged by the developing mink project being co-ordinated by BASC Green Shoots in North Wales, which brings together angling clubs, wildfowling clubs, private landowners and conservation bodies to identify where mink control can be targeted to be effective and efficient. This pilot project will also help formulate a strategy to be used elsewhere in Wales.?

Alex Hatton is the BASC Green Shoots project officer in North Wales. He said: ?It?s a fantastic opportunity that we can get so many people together working against a common enemy. The project will roll out across North Wales and hopefully it will be built on and adapted for the benefit of the wider countryside. It?s one of the many projects of the Green Shoots campaign, a campaign which has repeatedly brought together shooters and conservationists.?

The GCT developed the mink raft that will be used in the project. The raft has a special clay-based floor which picks up the tracks of mink as well as vole and other wildlife. Mike Short, from the predator control department at the GCT, helped develop the raft. He told ST: ?The use of the GCT mink rafts has revolutionised the way wildlife managers control mink in the UK. The rafts allow the operator to pre-define where and when to put in traps. Rafts were initially developed as a research tool but have now been adopted by most county wildlife trusts, British Waterways and other conservation bodies involved in water vole conservation. We hope a range of other important riparian species may benefit from further mink control.? removal too.?