The large-scale removal of mammalian invasive alien species in Northern Europe.
Numerous examples exist of successful mammalian invasive alien species (IAS) eradications from small islands (<10 km2), but few from more extensive areas. We review 15 large-scale removals (mean area 2627 km2) from Northern Europe since 1900, including edible dormouse, muskrat, coypu, Himalayan porcupine, Pallas' and grey squirrels and American mink, each primarily based on daily checking of static traps. Objectives included true eradication or complete removal to a buffer zone, as distinct from other programmes that involved local control to limit damage or spread. Twelve eradication/removal programmes (80%) were successful. Cost increased with and was best predicted by area, while the cost per unit area decreased; the number of individual animals removed did not add significantly to the model. Doubling the area controlled reduced cost per unit area by 10%, but there was no evidence that cost effectiveness had increased through time. Compared with small islands, larger-scale programmes followed similar patterns of effort in relation to area. However, they brought challenges when defining boundaries and consequent uncertainties around costs, the definition of their objectives, confirmation of success and different considerations for managing recolonisation. Novel technologies or increased use of volunteers may reduce costs. Rapid response to new incursions is recommended as best practice rather than large-scale control to reduce the environmental, financial and welfare costs.