This paper examines the case for, and plausibility of, eradicating American mink Neovison vison from mainland Great Britain and its associated offshore islands. This invasive species causes extensive damage to native fauna throughout Europe, and the UK Government is obliged to eradicate it, if feasible, under the Bern Convention. Current mink control buys time, but is patchy and dependent on substantial funding in perpetuity. If enacted, eradication would be cheaper in the long term and much more effective in preserving native wildlife. The methodology of an eradication campaign is explored, together with risks, challenges, and a tentative timeline and cost. We judge that mink eradication is now logistically feasible, due to technological developments and experience gained from landscape-scale control. Using live traps fitted with electronic sensors – ‘smart’ traps – as the primary means of catching mink would render the campaign efficient, humane and free of non-target mortality and negative environmental impacts. A mink-free Great Britain would plausibly cost tens of millions of pounds, against which could be set the limitless future costs of mink control. Such a campaign would be by far the world’s largest invasive predator eradication project by geographical area and would set a precedent for citizen-led conservation action globally.
Martin, A.R. and Lea, V.J. (2020). A mink‐free GB: perspectives on eradicating American mink Neovison vison from Great Britain and its islands. Mammal Review, 50(2), pp.170–179.