Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

The distribution of American mink (Neovison vison) in Greece.

Abstract

The distribution of the American mink in the wild, originating either from accidental escapes or intentional releases from fur farms, was mapped for the first time in Greece, based on opportunistic data collected from 2010 to 2020. Greece is a key actor in Europe's fur industry, with most mink farms operating in the northwest. Massive intentional releases by activists took place in the late 2000s, while accidental escapes regularly occur. Most mink were recorded in the Region of Western Macedonia, in NW Greece, within and around the core areas of fur farms, where feral populations became established. Animals were also found further south in the Regions of Thessaly (central Greece) and Central Macedonia (northern Greece). Half of mink records were close to protected areas and almost two-thirds near to watercourses. Many animals were away from the water and on high altitudes, with theoretically less favourable conditions for their survival. We also examine possible directions of further mink range expansion in Greece and neighbouring countries through the river network. Mink invasion progress in Greece is little known, thus, the subject is in urgent need of study, as mink is the alien mammal with the highest impact on the European native fauna.