Turning back the tide of American mink invasion at an unprecedented scale through community participation and adaptive management

Rosalind Bryce, Matthew K. Oliver, Llinos Davies, Helen Gray, Jamie Urquhart, Xavier Lambin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Successful eradications of harmful invasive species have been mostly confined to islands while control programs in mainland areas remain small, uncoordinated and vulnerable to recolonisation. To allow the recovery of threatened native species, innovative management strategies are required to remove invasives from large areas. We took an adaptive approach to achieve large scale eradication of invasive American mink in North East Scotland. The project was centred on the Cairngorms National Park (Scotland), with the primary aim of protecting endangered water vole populations. The project was initiated by scientists and supported and implemented through a partnership comprising a government agency, national park authority and local fisheries boards. Capitalising on the convergent interests of a diverse range of local stakeholders, we created a coordinated coalition of trained volunteers to detect and trap mink. Starting in montane headwaters, we systematically moved down river catchments, deploying mink rafts, an effective detection and trapping platform. Volunteers took increasing responsibility for raft monitoring and mink trapping as the project progressed. Within 3 years, the project removed 376 mink from 10570 km(2) with the involvement of 186 volunteers. Capture rate within sub-catchments increased with greater connectivity to mink in other sub-catchments and with proximity to the coast where there is more productive habitat. The main factor underpinning the success of this project was functional volunteer participation. The project is a reason for optimism that the tide of invasion can be rolled back on a large scale where the convergent interest of local communities can be harnessed. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number1
Early online date23 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • American mink
  • Invasive alien species
  • Eradication
  • Volunteer participation
  • Adaptive management
  • Community conservation
  • Mustela-vison
  • Arvicola-terrestris
  • Vertebrate pests
  • Water voles
  • New-Zealand
  • Scotland
  • Consequences
  • Populations


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