Modelling the benefits of American Mink Mustela vison management options for terns in west Scotland

N Ratcliffe, J C A Craik, A Helyar, S Roy, M Scott

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12 Citations (Scopus)


American Mink Mustela vison is a semi-aquatic predator that has invaded the west coast of Scotland and many of its associated islands. We developed a GIS model of their potential range based on their dispersal abilities and habitat use, which revealed that most islands in west Scotland are accessible to Mink, and that these host a large proportion of the region's Common Sterna hirundo and Arctic Terns S. paradisaea. Mink are predators on tern eggs and chicks, and statistical modelling of long-term productivity data demonstrated that unprotected sites within their range have an average productivity of 0.33 chicks per pair, whereas that at sites where Mink were trapped was 253% higher. We assessed the benefits of current Mink control projects for terns in the Western Isles and the remainder of west Scotland using a population modelling approach. This showed that both projects delivered considerable benefits for Common Terns, because a large proportion of their numbers were within the area of the control programmes and in sites that would be accessible to Mink if no control were in operation. For Arctic Terns, the benefits were less clear, as a larger proportion of their numbers were outside the control areas, and many of these were in sites isolated from, or unsuitable for, Mink. We discuss the implications of these findings for future strategic planning of Mink management in west Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
Issue numbersup Suppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Ornithology


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