In DepthConservation Biology

‘Safe spaces’ may save the European mink

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Science  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6352, pp. 636
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6352.636

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Along the upper stream of the Aragón River, a team of Spanish conservation biologists will release 10 or 12 captive-bred European minks (Mustela lutreola) next week. The hope is that they will start a new population and help save the European mink, a critically endangered species from extinction. Protecting the furry, dark-brown carnivore requires killing its main competitor, the American mink (Neovison vison), brought to Europe a century ago by fur farmers; the Spanish team is betting on an elaborate system of floating traps to capture American minks. Elsewhere in Europe, too, reintroduced European minks can only live in such ecological safe spaces.