A visit to LIFE Lutreola Spain has helped to understand the problems facing the European mink, and how our work can support the endeavour to save it from extinction.
In September of this year, along with fellow mustelid enthusiasts, I was very fortunate to visit La Rioja region in the north of Spain. This was to see the massive effort underway by the LIFE Lutreola Spain project, to conserve the last remaining population of European mink in Western Europe. One of Europe’s most critically endangered mammals, the European mink is in real danger of becoming the next mammalian extinction, with fewer than 5,000 individuals estimated to be left in the wild, occupying less than three per cent of their former range. Although similar in appearance to the introduced American mink, European mink are more closely related to our own polecat, with which they can hybridise where the range of the two species overlaps.