The European Mink, Mustela lutreola, is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. A century ago, the European Mink could be found throughout the European continent, but its population has severely declined and its range is now greatly reduced. Today, it is mostly known from Eastern Europe, with isolated populations in northern Spain and western France.
Historically, habitat loss and over-hunting are likely to have contributed to the European Mink’s decline. In parts of Europe, where hydroelectric habitat losss and water habitat change have increased significantly over the past few decades, habitat loss is still a serious threat. Pest-control trapping and accidental mortality through vehicle collisions also affects populations in some areas.
The European Mink is legally protected in all range states, and at least part of the population occurs within protected areas. In the early 1990s, an international conservation program was set up by several partners. The program’s objectives were to establish priorities for a conservation plan by characterizing the bio-ecology of the species, analyzing causes for its decline and assessing the genetic variability of western populations.