The mink's tail is short, and does not exceed half the animal's body length (constituting about 40% of its length). The underfur is light bluish-grey. (2004). The decline of the European mink in Estonia and Belarus was rapid during the 1980s, with only a few small, fragmented populations in the northeastern regions of both countries being reported in the 1990s. Selective breeding over many generations has resulted in farmed mink in a wide range of colours, or “phases”, never seen in nature. varina (Matschie, 1912), The European mink is a typical representative of the genus Mustela, having a greatly elongated body with short limbs. Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes . Mink lives in areas near rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps and marshes, especially if they are rich in dense vegetation. Denmark is the world's largest exporter of mink fur, and many fear that this move could mean the end of the mink industry in Europe. [5], During the mating season, the sexual organs of the female enlarge greatly and become pinkish-lilac in colour, which is in contrast with the female American mink, whose organs do not change. They make their homes by digging dens or by living in hollow logs. [24], Polecat-mink hybrids are termed khor'-tumak by furriers[9] and khonorik by fanciers. Originally bred for their fur (which was more valuable than that of either parent species), the breeding of these hybrids declined as European mink populations decreased. In mid-19th-century Germany, for example, European mink populations declined in a decade due to expanded land drainage. In times of food abundance, it caches its food. [11] Hybrids can swim well like minks and burrow for food like polecats. Tail length is 153–190 mm (6.0–7.5 in) in males and 150–180 mm (5.9–7.1 in). Minks are small mammals with long, thin bodies, short legs, pointed snouts and claws. Here is the classification of minks, according to theIntegrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS): Kingdom: Animalia Subkingdom: Bilateria Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Infraphylum: Gnathostomata Superclass: Tetrapoda Class: Mammalia Subclass: Theria Infraclass: Eutheria Order: Carnivora Suborder: Caniformia Family: Mustelidae Subfamily: Mustelinae Genera: Mustela, Neovison Species: While the American mink is in no danger of disappearing, the European mink is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. [11][28] The first captive polecat-mink hybrid was created in 1978 by Soviet zoologist Dr. Dmitry Ternovsky of Novosibirsk. Many of my fondest childhood memories are of time spent with my grandfather, a mink farmer in the tiny town of Franklin, Idaho, located just a few miles north of the Utah border. Of all the mink colour “phases” now available, only a few resemble wild mink. Nesting chambers are lined with straw, moss, mouse wool and bird feathers. [23] It is more sedentary than the American mink, and will confine itself for long periods in its burrow in very cold weather. American minks are the larger of the two species, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). They are very difficult to tame and breed, as males are sterile, though females are fertile. New York, A widespread modern misconception is that the UK’s wild population of American mink originated from mass releases of mink from fur farms by animal rights activists in the 1990s. Most minks are loners and typically only come together to breed. By the time it reaches adulthood, a male is about the size of a small house cat, weighing 680 – 1,300 gm, and measuring about 56 cm in length. They are crepuscular, which means they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours, spending their time marking their territory and looking for prey. [22] The European mink is reportedly less efficient than the American species underwater. [7], Competition with the American Mink and disease, Hybridisation and competition with the European Polecat. [20], The European mink is similar to the American mink, but with several important differences. Disease spread by the American mink can also account for the decline. They weigh about 1.76 pounds with the males having a body length of about 16.9 inches and a 7.5 inches tail. Zoologica Scripta, 33: 481 - 499, Tumanov, Igor L. & Abramov, Alexei V. (2002), Why is the European mink, Mustela lutreola disappearing? In the EU, over 41 million mink were killed for fur production in 2014. [7], Diseases spread by the American mink can also account for the decline. Their numbers in Moldova began to drop very quickly in the 1930s, with the last known population having been confined to the lower course of the River Prut on the Romanian border by the late 1980s. The European mink is also known to eat some vegetation. By the 1930s-1950s, the European mink became extinct in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and possibly Bulgaria. A third, the Sea Mink, went extinct in the 1860s. [7], The decline of European crayfish has been proposed as a factor in the drop in mink numbers, as minks are notably absent in the eastern side of the Urals, where crayfish are also absent. It is similar in colour to the American mink, but is slightly smaller and has a less specialized skull. The European mink is one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Visit our corporate site. Because of this, there are farms that raise minks to harvest their fur. The European mink (Mustela lutreola), also known as the Russian mink and Eurasian mink, is a semiaquatic species of mustelid native to Europe. Although land improvement and river dredging certainly resulted in population decreases and fragmentation, in areas which still maintain suitable river ecosystems, such as Poland, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, Finland and Russia, the decline preceded the change in wetland habitats, and may have been caused by extensive agricultural development. There was a problem. Results show that wild born males successfully mate significantly more often than captive born males (89%and 35%, respectively). The tail tip is black and the underfur is dark bluish-grey. Along shorelines, the length of a home range varies from 250–2,000 m (270–2,190 yd), with a width of 50–60 m (55–66 yd). As of 2005[update],[12] seven subspecies are recognised. Overall, the skull is less specialized for carnivory than that of polecats and the American mink. They are born blind; the eyes open after 30–31 days. The guard hairs are quite coarse and lustrous, with very wide contour hairs which are flat in the middle, as is typical in aquatic mammals. In the early 20th century, 40–60,000 European minks were caught annually in the Soviet Union, with a record of 75,000 individuals (an estimate which exceeds the modern global European mink population). The mink's fur is very valuable around the world. 05 October 2011 • 23:00 pm Farmed mink, are fed left-overs from our own food production, The manure, bedding (soiled straw and wood shavings) and carcasses are composted to produce organic fertilizers to replenish the soil. [19] When swimming, it paddles with both its front and back limbs simultaneously. Data from the 1990s indicate the European mink has disappeared from the northern half of this previous range. The mink's coat is coated in oil to repel water. The decline of European mink numbers in Ukraine began in the late 1950s, with now only a few small and isolated populations being reported in the upper courses of the Ukrainian Carpathian rivers. Unlike the European mink, which has white patches on both upper and lower lips, the American mink almost never has white marks on the upper lip. The European mink is native to continental Europe and is thought to have originated in the UK about 400,000 years ago. They become sexually mature at 10 to 12 months. [7], Fossil finds of the European mink are very rare, thus indicating the species is either a relative newcomer to Europe, probably having originated in North America,[8] or a recent speciation caused by hybridization. 13 September 2016. Asked by Wiki User. [7], The American mink was introduced and released in Europe during the 1920s-1930s. Over the last 150 years, though, it has severely declined by more than 90% and been extirpated or greatly reduced over most of its former range. China accounts for around 40% of mink pelt production, with around 35 million in … Thank you for signing up to Live Science. [5] It primarily feeds on voles, frogs, fish, crustaceans and insects. Many people will remember these dramatic events for the sheer numbers of mink involved. The smaller female weighs 450 – 700 gm, and measures about 54 cm in length. under the European mink EEP Program. Occasionally, colour mutations such as albinos and white spots throughout the pelage occur. The failure of the European mink to expand west to Scandinavia coincides with the gap in crayfish distribution. Minks are found near bodies of water, such as streams, lakes or ponds that have nearby tree cover. Their range has been reduced by at least 90% since the mid-19 th century. Currently, Romanian mink populations are confined to the Danube Delta. Top Answer. In Finland, annual mink catches reached 3000 specimens in the 1920s. Adult males usually measure more than 42 cm (17 in) long. The tail is longer in the American species, almost reaching half its body length. Minks have webbed feet that help them swim. [25][26][27], The earliest actual records of decreases in European mink numbers occurred in Germany, having already become extinct in several areas by the middle of the 18th century. There are only two living mink species in the world, the American Mink and the European Mink. europeae (Homeyer, 1879) A very large subspecies, it is only slightly smaller than, A moderately-sized subspecies, it is slightly larger than, The middle zone of the European part of the. France: several hundred. 1 2 3. They accompany the mother on hunting expeditions at the age of 56–70 days, and become independent at the age 70–84 days. European minks weigh 15.5 to 26 ounces (440 to 739 g) and are around 12 to 15 inches (31 to 38 cm). The European Union is one of the world's main sources of fur clothing, led by Denmark, Finland, Italy, Poland, Greece and the Netherlands. The limbs are short, with relatively well-developed membranes between the digits, particularly on the hind feet. [7], The European mink was historically hunted extensively, particularly in Russia, where in some districts, the decline prompted a temporary ban on mink hunting to let the population recover. © [5], The European mink does not form large territories, possibly due to the abundance of food on the banks of small water bodies. This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 20:43. [18] Overall weight is 550–800 grams (1.21–1.76 lb). It is able to run along stream beds, and stay underwater for one to two minutes. They are semi-aquaticcreatures, splitting their time betwe… Leftovers from a kill are often kept in the mink's den for later. Denmark plans to slaughter up to 17 million farmed mink because a coronavirus mutation discovered in the animals that spread to humans, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Thursday. And astronomers are excited. [1] European mink numbers began to shrink during the 19th century, with the species rapidly becoming extinct in some parts of Central Europe. Half of the population has been lost in the last 10 years, according to IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. Their fur is highly valued. [23], The European mink has both a permanent burrow and temporary shelters. Minks can swim up to 100 feet (30 m) underwater, according ADW. Phylogeny, Evolutionary History and Taxonomy of the Mustelidae based on Sequences of the Cytochrome b Gene and a Complex Repetitive Flanking Region. [17] The European mink's skull is less elongated than the kolonok's, with more widely spaced zygomatic arches and has a less massive facial region. During the 20th century, mink numbers declined all throughout their range, the reasons for which having been hypothesised to be due to a combination of factors, including climate change, competition with (as well as diseases spread by) the introduced American mink, habitat destruction, declines in crayfish numbers and hybridisation with the European polecat. Records of minks in Austria stopped by the late 18th century. White markings may also occur on the lower surface of the neck and chest. A similar pattern occurred in Switzerland, with no records of minks being published in the 20th century. Historically, the European mink was found throughout much of Europe, from Finland down to Spain. The ends of the limbs are often white. [3][4] The European mink occurs primarily by forest streams unlikely to freeze in winter. The European minks are listed as critically endangered. In the wild, minks are solitary and territorial animals. American Minks have been bred in farms for over a century due to the high demand for their soft, luxurious fur. Also, competition with the polecat has greatly increased, due to landscape change favouring the polecat. MARMI, J., LÓPEZ-GIRÁLDEZ, J.F. There may be as many as 20,000 (two-thirds of the world population) located within that one country. They will give birth to a litter of one to eight babies. White chest markings are much more frequent in this subspecies than in others. The former is used all year except during floods, and is located no more than 6–10 m (6.6–10.9 yd) from the water's edge. They weigh 25 to 56 ounces (700 to 1,600 grams) and are 18 to 27.5 inches (46 to 70 centimeters) long. It likely first arose in the Middle Pleistocene, with several fossils in Europe dated to the Late Pleistocene being found in caves and some suggesting early exploitation by humans. Though the presence of the American mink has coincided with the decline of European mink numbers in Belarus and Estonia, the decline of the European mink in some areas preceded the introduction of the American mink by many years, and there are areas in Russia where the American species is absent, though European mink populations in these regions are still declining. [21] The European mink's skull is much less specialised than the American species' in the direction of carnivory, bearing more infantile features, such as a weaker dentition and less strongly developed projections. The average litter consists of three to seven kits. [28] Studies on the behavioural ecology of free-ranging polecat-mink hybrids in the upper reaches of the Lovat River indicate the hybrids will stray from aquatic habitats more readily than pure minks, and will tolerate both parent species entering their territories, though the hybrid's larger size (especially the male's) may deter intrusion. There are up to 33,500 wild mink in Ireland, according to a 2009 government review . The lactation period lasts 2.0 to 2.5 months, though the kits eat solid food after 20–25 days.

how many european minks are left in the wild

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