Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mustela vison / (aka) Neovison vison
   Down river from the sanctuary, this mink was travelling alongside the canal. Noticeably smaller than an otter, it uses its slender, lithe body to slink through the waterside vegetation. Their legs are short and sturdy, and their clawed toes have a slight webbing, which assists them when swimming. Along with the claws, their sharp teeth make them very successful carnivores, who scour the waterways for fish, birds, invertebrate, and other small mammals. As competitors and predator, they have been blamed for the decline of several species of native fauna, most notably the water vole.
  While there is no doubting the impact minks have had on UK biodiversity, it should be remembered that their presence in the UK, as well as many other countries across the globe, is the consequence of human greed and vanity. They were brought to these shores in the 1920's to establish fur farms, and subsequently reared to be killed and skinned. Frequently used language, such as "alien invaders" or "invasive species" are disrespectful of an animal that has had to adapt to different environments on which it has been thrust.
  The current wild population of mink are the descendants of those that escaped the horrific fate that fur farms had to offer, or those released by well meaning animal activists. In short, they are here because of us, not because they one day decided to hop on a boat to sample all that the UK had to offer, and as such their presence should be accommodated and controlled without further talk of culling.

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