Hebridean farmers: Fewer mink, more rats

Mar 02, 2008

An effort to rid the Outer Hebrides of Scotland of mink to protect nesting seabirds has caused rats to become more plentiful, farmers on the islands say.

The mink were descended from animals that escaped from fur farms. They are believed to have been cleared from at least four islands, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra.

"We definitely notice the difference since they started cracking down on the mink; there are a lot more rats around and they are a menace," Donald MacLeod told The Scotsman. "No one liked the mink very much, but they did help in keeping the rats down."

Iain MacLeod, manager of the Scottish Natural Heritage's Hebridean Mink Project, said rats are not as destructive as mink. He said the best way to keep them down is to store animal feed in rat-proof containers.

Commercial mink farms were established on Lewis in the 1950s and 1960s. Escaped mink reproduced and spread through the Hebrides with experts estimating the population at about 10,000 at its height.

Mink are carnivores and eat eggs, chicks and adult birds.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Alaska refuge proposes killing invasive caribou

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rating the planet's oceans

23 minutes ago

The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth's oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the ...

Are the world's religions ready for ET?

50 minutes ago

In 1930, Albert Einstein was asked for his opinion about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. "Other beings, perhaps, but not men," he answered. Then he was asked whether science and religion ...

Blades of grass inspire advance in organic solar cells

51 minutes ago

Using a bio-mimicking analog of one of nature's most efficient light-harvesting structures, blades of grass, an international research team led by Alejandro Briseno of the University of Massachusetts Amherst ...

Recommended for you

Twice the DNA yield in less time

1 hour ago

Molecular studies of plants often depend on high-quantity and high-quality DNA extractions. This can be quite difficult in plants, however, due to a diversity of compounds and physical properties found in plants. "Tannins, ...

Kimberley survey nets plenty of crocs

2 hours ago

Parks and Wildlife officers have conducted a capture and release survey of freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnsoni) with Bunuba Rangers at Winjanna Gorge National Park in the West Kimberley in preparation ...

User comments : 0