Background: Introduced species can have a major negative impact on biodiversity; an example is the American mink, which was introduced in the 1930s in Patagonia. While there is a consensus that reversing alien mustelids continental scale invasions remains unfeasible, there is little consensus, given a maximum cost or investment, on the feasibility and efficiency of region-wide control or eradication. Thus, our goal was to provide information about efficiency for mink control in Patagonia. Methods: Between January 2009 and February 2013 this study was conducted in ten study sites (4 km to 15 km long) between 39°S to 45°S latitude. Minks were trapped using cage traps operated by two trappers. We estimated the population density at each study site assuming they were close populations, exhibit intrasexual territoriality and the home range of females were smaller than those of males. We obtained a theoretical population and a modeled population from our trapping results. Sixty five minks were trapped over 2190 trap nights (0.03 mink/trap night). Mink captures were higher in the first six days and in the first trapping campaigns. A two person team was able to control a maximum distance of approximately 6 km of river shore by foot and 15 km of sea and lake shores by boat. There was an over linear increase of operational costs as time passed. Our modeled population was 91% of the theoretical population. Conclusions: We believe that to trap and remove a minimum of 70% of the mink population in a region under ideal circumstances, traps should be deployed every 200 m and after the sixth day should be moved to another new transect. We suggest an annual repetition of this strategy as the more efficient for controlling mink populations in terms of trapping success and reduced costs. The number of traps will depend on the number of trappers participating and also on habitat characteristics.
- American mink
- Population modeling
- Trapping efficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences