Reaction to rise in the number of mink spied beside River Ancholme
RIVER users in Brigg have reported an increase in sightings in the number of mink.
Eyewitnesses say they have spotted more of the elusive furry creatures on the banks of the River Ancholme – at a time when the population in the UK is said to be thriving.
Rob Waltham, chairman of the Ancholme Users Group, said a jump in sightings of the water-loving animals had been reported to the group.
But despite being known for being a killer of birds, fish and other small mammals, Mr Waltham said that no concerns had been raised by any of the angling groups that use the River Ancholme.
He said: "The number of fish in the Ancholme at the moment is quite high."
Mink are native to North America and were first introduced to fur farms in Britain in 1929. The first official record of escapees breeding in the wild was not until 1957 but since then they have spread.
While they might look cute, mink can cause damage in buildings and to the natural environment. The predators are not easily seen and experts say exact figures on mink numbers are not easy to calculate.
Assessing figures depends to a large extent on eyewitnesses contacting the right people when they see one of the water- borne creatures.
Chris Manning, Lincolnshire Naturalists Union mammal recorder, said that although mink spotters often contacted him in the south of England, confirmed sightings in this part of the region were rare.
"Mink are wildly distributed in the UK and Lincolnshire, with many more sightings in the south of the country and far fewer on the Lindsey Marsh area where we have a national key site for water voles," he said.
"I have not noticed any increase in mink sightings for the Ancholme, but that may well be as the records are not getting to me."
Often mistaken for otters, mink are much smaller with fluffier tails and pointed snouts.
But the increase in mink sightings follows a number of eyewitness accounts of otters in 2012.
The environment team at the Environment Agency has also said mink numbers are increasing across the entire country.
All riverside glimpses of mink by the public should be reported to Chris Manning at email@example.com