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Scientists think they can save the European mink—by killing its ruthless rivals. Science

Miércoles, 16 Agosto, 2017

Somewhere along the upper Aragón River, between the jagged peaks of the Pyrenees and a hydropower dam, conservation biologist Madis Põdra and his colleagues will release 10 or 12 captive-born European minks (Mustela lutreola) next week into a mink’s idea of heaven: a pristine patch of Spanish wilderness with 150 kilometers of waterways. Põdra hopes they will start a new population and help save the European mink, a critically endangered species whose population in Spain is down to 500.

But in an ironic twist, protecting the furry, dark-brown carnivore requires killing its main competitor, the equally winsome American mink (Neovison vison). A similar reintroduction effort a decade ago flopped because it failed to root out the American mink population; this time the Spanish team is betting on an elaborate system of floating traps to capture them.