1. Management programs worldwide seeking to reduce the density of invasive species must overcome compensatory processes, such as recolonisation by dispersers from non- or partially-controlled areas. However, the scale and drivers of dispersal in such context are poorly known. 2. We investigated the dispersal patterns of American mink reinvading 20,000 km2 of their non-native range following a culling programme led by citizen conservationists. Using multinomial models, we estimated the contributions of density dependence, proxies for patch quality and distance from the natal patch on mink settlement. 3. Seventy seven percent of mink dispersed and settled in non-natal patches. Dispersal distances were large with settlement probabilities only reduced by half at ~60 km, and 20% of mink dispersing > 80 km. 4. Females were more attracted to patches of high quality mostly found at low altitudes. Males favoured patches with intermediate current densities and consistently high quality. Synthesis and applications. Predicting post-culling recolonisation by a non-native mobile carnivore over large spatial scale was possible using information on relative densities obtained during management interventions largely implemented by citizen conservationists. This was possible by a continued monitoring of the area designed to feed into the adaptive management process of the control project. High mink mobility dictates management should take place on very large spatial scales to minimise reinvasion from un-controlled areas. Our research shows both males and females are attracted to patches with previously consistent occupation, which provides a degree of predictability to patterns of recolonisation. Targeting control to patches attractive to immigrant mink requires knowledge of current mink density. Creating so-called ecological traps in the face of ongoing immigration from peripheral areas provides a promising tool to effectively control mobile invasive species.
|Date made available||1 Jan 2019|