Study of evaluation methods and the necessity of improving genetic diversity in European mink reintroduced island population

The aim of this project was to analyse the differences of genetic diversity between reintroduced island population and captive population. And thereby, to investigate whether there is a need to increase the diversity in European mink population in Hiiumaa island. Possibilities of how individuals from captive population could be used to increase the genetic diversity in island population and how to monitor the success of this activity in the future, were evaluated. Samples for the DNA analysis were collected from the animals of Hiiumaa Island and Tallinn Zoo.

Results showed that the reintroduced island population is not drastically genetically less diverse than captive population. Methodology of monitoring the genetic diversity was compiled and it can be used as the basis of future evaluation studies of how the diversity is changing in these populations.

This project was completed in 2017 between the collaboration of Foundation Lutreola, Tallinn Zoo Species Conservation Lab and Environmental Investment Center.

Photo: Tiit Maran