The annual monitoring of the status of European mink population in Hiiumaa has revealed that the population abundance has remained stable for the last years, even though there haven’t been any additional releases to the island since 2017. Besides the fact that the island was hit by an extreme drought and the number of small mammals was critically low last year, which made it a real survival challange for the minks, we were able to catch 10 minks during the last monitoring period. And the best news – they were all wild born animals! Out of those 10 (1F, 8M, 1?), one mink was actually caught for the second time, the first time being during 2017 monitoring. This gives us some reassurance that the mink are doing fine on the island.
GaiaZOO & EAZA Small Carnivore TAG organised the 1st International Small Carnivore Workshop during 20-22 of March 2019. The days were full of interesting and practical presentations about the endangered small carnivore husbandry and conservation, including a keynote speech about the European mink.
We would like to send our very special thanks to GaiaZOO, who has sold European mink charity pins throughout the year and collected 10 000€ for the European mink conservation and an additional 1500€ during a silent auction at the workshop. You have been wonderful partners and a great help to us!
We are happy to announce that in 2018, a grand total of 23 326,91 Euros was collected from the sales of non-profit merchandise and donations. This is almost double the amount of 2017. Furthermore, donations for conservation of endangered species have increased every year.
Find out in more detail about the money collected here!
Second European mink newsletter has arrived. It gives an overview what has been done in 2018 for the worlds most critically endangered small carnivore in various European countries (Estonia, France, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Romania).
Check out the newsletter here.
The new facility, which is located at a remote area in the zoo, will have five enclosure modules with 20 breeding pens (100 in total). In addition to the main enclosures, there will be four bigger pre-release enclosures at the end of four modules and a maintenance area for the mink keepers in the middle of the facility.
The construction work should end in June 2019.
Construction site of the European mink breeding facility in Tallinn Zoo
Looking for a christmas present? Check out what we sell at our webshop HERE! For example, you can buy cool and practical European mink themed merchandise! All proceeds go to a species protection charity.
Through Lutreola, everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the protection of endangered animals by making a donation or buying our merchandise.
Please mention the species whose protection you wish to support in the payment (European mink, rhino, snow leopard, amur leopard or tiger).
Tallinn Zoo’s first European mink drawing contest received 131 pictures from children aged 3 to 14. All drawings were divided into five age groups and the best got awarded. And not only that, the awarded pictures will also be added to a new European mink charity notebooks, which can be purchased from Species Conservation Boutique next year.
3-4 year olds: Roman Alfjorov
5-6 year olds: Emily Gornischeff
7-8 year olds: Eliise Aus
9-10 year olds: Anastassia Pikkov
11-14 year olds: Meeri Liisu Laanekivi
5-6 year olds: Genrih-Makar Gluškov
7-8 aastased: Mihkel Radala
7-8 year olds: Stella Juur
9-10 year olds: Liisa Orutalu
This year we celebrated the European Mink Day for the third time in Tallinn Zoo and it was a great success. There were a lot of activities for everyone.
Drawing contest– Since we have about 100 minks at Tallinn Zoo and we also celebrated Estonia’s 100thAnniversary of Independence this year, we decided to name our drawing contest “Estonia’s 100 minks”. We invited schools, kindergartens (children aged 3-18) and also adults to participate. The best pictures will be added to new European mink charity notebooks and can be purchased from Species Conservation Boutique next year.
Drawing and crafts activities for smaller children
Excursions to the European Mink Breeding Center (which is a restricted area, where zoo visitors normally can’t go)
Mink radio tracking– Visitors had to find a mink mascot (who was carrying a mink radio collar) from the zoo territory. After capturing the “mink” they had to check if it had a transponder (which is an indicator that the animal is not wild born) and take all the necessary measurements (from paws, tail, ears etc.) like the conservation scientists do on the field.
Workshop “Who was eaten by the mink?” – Participants had to go through mink feces to find any remains of its food objects (feathers, small mammal bones, fish scales etc.)
Exhibition about European mink ex situ and in situconservation work
Mustelid trivia evening with the focus on e-mink
Lutreola Species Conservation Boutique charity sale (https://pood.lutreola.eu/en/)
This year, six litters with 33 young minks were born in the Tallinn Zoo as well as two litters with eight young minks in the semi-natural enclosures in Hiiumaa.
Riinu and Donald had the biggest litter (7 kits, 4 males and 3 females, or 4.3 as it is marked in the zoo databases). Young Rapuntsel, who turned 1 year old this spring, had the smallest litter. There are three bright-eyed youngsters wondering the world in her enclosure on the island of Hiiumaa, two males and one female.
The average litter size for European minks in nature is four. Our females usually have more kits with the average litter size this year being 5.1.
For now even the youngest minks (born on May 31st) are going to be 2 months old. European minks start to come out from the nest after their eyes have opened (ca. month old). Presently they are almost the same size as their mother, some male minks are even larger, running around, chasing each other and enjoying splashing in the water.
Häbelik, who was sent to Hiiumaa, didn’t have kits and she was released on June 26. Since July 1st, Nunnu lives in the enclosure with her 4 youngsters and are awaiting release.
On the 12th of July, Rosin along with her three kits, who were born in the wild, were brought to the Tallinn Zoo. She had begun to beg for food and steal from a restaurant as well as teaching this to her young. Restaurant food can also be tasty for minks, but behavior like this is not suitable for proper wild animals. We then had to trap them and bring them to the zoo. Hopefully their descendants can make it without cutlets of organic beef when released.
Young European minks, Hiiumaa (by Tiit Maran)