Assessing the control/eradication of an invasive species, the American mink, based on field data; how much would it cost?

Abstract

Biological invasions are an important cause of biodiversity loss, American mink being one of the worst invasive species in Europe. We performed a 13-week control program of the species in the Butron river system (Northern Spain), where a natural population of the European mink is found. Three population estimates were considered: an absolute minimum, an intermediate scenario and a pessimistic one (n = 35, 49 and 70 animals, respectively). After 2,242 cage trap-nights, trapping success varied from 44 to 89% of these estimates. In addition, we evaluated the costs of eradicating the estimated populations; costs ranged between 652.5 and 2,970 € per mink, and would rise up to 83,462 € for the intermediate estimate under an exponential function linking captures and costs, or ca. 172.500 € to capture the highest estimate under a log-function. The implications of these numbers for the design and implementation of future control projects are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Regional Council of Biscay’s Conservation and Nature Reserves Area. The authors wish to express their gratitude to A. Azkona for her assistance in the field.

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Correspondence to Iñigo Zuberogoitia.

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Zuberogoitia, I., González-Oreja, J.A., Zabala, J. et al. Assessing the control/eradication of an invasive species, the American mink, based on field data; how much would it cost?. Biodivers Conserv 19, 1455–1469 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-010-9776-2

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Keywords

  • American mink
  • Economic assessment
  • Eradication program
  • European mink
  • Invasive species
  • Pest control program