Relative abundance of culled and not culled American mink populations in Northeast Spain and their potential distribution: are culling campaigns effective?

Yolanda Melero (Corresponding Author), Santiago Palazón, Laura Bonesi, Joaquim Gosàlbez

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The effectiveness of culling campaigns to eradicate or limit populations of the alien, invasive American mink in Catalonia was studied by comparing the annual relative abundance of culled versus non-culled populations. We selected three populations that were culled under government campaigns and a fourth that served as a control and hence was left undisturbed (not culled). The study took place between 2002 and 2006 and annual relative abundances were estimated from trapping with bankside traps. The abundance of all four populations remained relatively stable throughout the study period. However, the annual relative abundance of the culled populations was lower than that of the non-culled population, which indicates that culling may have lowered the densities of mink, although eradication was not achieved. We also determined the potential distribution of the American mink in Catalonia by means of a habitat suitability model. The final aim was to assist in planning this species’ management. Almost all watercourses in Catalonia were identified as suitable for the American mink, with preferred areas located in the northeast. We recommend that the government and administrations promote culling campaigns focused on limiting the spread of the American mink as eradication is likely to be difficult to be achieved under the current situation. Target areas should be located on the edges of the American mink’s range and should be prioritized to limit the spread of this species to areas in which there are endangered native species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3877-3885
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010



  • American mink
  • Culling campaigns
  • Relative abundance
  • Potential distribution
  • GIS

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