The European Mink is a small mustelid considered the most endangered mammal in Europe. It lives in different types of aquatic environment (rivers, streams, canals and lakes) lined with thick vegetation. The mink makes its dens in amongst brambles, piles of branches and trunks, reed beds and areas with dense vegetation, often making use of hollows created by other animals, holes in trees and gaps between roots, where it piles up dry leaves, feathers and fur. It lives in places where potential prey, such as fish, amphibians, crayfish and small mammals, abound.
Its life cycle is closely related to the river ecosystem, so its presence is strongly conditioned by the extent to which rivers are altered.
In Gipuzkoa in the last 15 years, the presence of the species has been recorded in the River Agauntza and in the headwaters of the River Oria, and breeding has also been confirmed. The rare occasions on which the species has been spotted in the River Leitzaran over the same period have mainly occurred in the upper half of the basin. There has only been one recent sighting of the European mink in the River Urumea, in the Gipuzkoan stretch of the river (subadult disperser captured in 2006 near Hernani).
In Navarre, the presence of the species has been registered in the SAC "River Bidasoa" thanks to data from trapping and roadkill. The most serious threat to the species in this area is, without doubt, the possible expansion of the American mink, already observed back in 2000. Constant monitoring, together with trapping of the species, has been conducted since then. There is evidence of a low-density presence of the species in the SAC “River Baztan and Artesiaga Brook”. It is certainly present in the SACs "Señorio de Bertiz", "Artikutza" and "Belate".
Mustela lutreola (European mink)
Annexes to Directive 92/43/CEE: II y IV
|Site||Population size||Conservation status|
|SAC River Leitzaran ES2120013||C||B|
|SAC River Bidasoa ES2200014||C||B|
|SAC River Baztan and Artesiaga Brook ES2200023||C||B|
|SAC Señorío de Bertiz ES2200017||C||C|
|SCI Artikutza ES2200010||- - -||- - -|
|SCI Belate ES2200018||C||B|
A: Excellent representation B: Good representation C: Significant representation. D: Insignificant representation