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22.01.2015
American mink (Neovision vision) are a member of the Mustelid family (the weasel, badger and skunk family). Mink escaped from fur farms in the UK in the 1950s and quickly became established in the wild.
Mink are very destructive to several of our native species, but none so high profile as the water vole. For this reason, mink are blamed for the massive decline in water vole numbers we have seen in Britain, together with the habitat loss brought about by humans. It is generally accepted that the only way to resolve the mink problem is to actively control mink using humane methods. There are several methods for killing mink, however we only ever use the most humane techniques available. The cages we use are specially designed to avoid any non-target species being caught accidentally.
When you are trapping over a wide area, as we began to do in 2011, it is more practical to detect mink using other methods. Mink rafts, designed by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, take advantage of the inquisitive nature of mink.
Other creatures will also use mink rafts, including otter, water vole, and even coot so they are a really good way for us to monitor what else is about on the Gwent Levels. I was outside tending to my raised bed vegetable gardens last week when I encountered this fascinating bug.
This is a Squash Vine Borer, a moth that mimics a wasp.  The larvae bore in the stems of squash and other related plants including cucumbers, so we have to go with foe in the vegetable garden. I have much to learn yet about the fascinating world of bugs and veggie gardening, as well as how best to navigate your invaluable website! 2K did say that they will be adding more monsters, maps and hunters to the game when it is released sometime in the summer for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. When two rare, deep sea-dwelling oarfish washed up last week in California, they captivated millions. That world is the deep sea, the region between the upper ocean's sun-enriched bounties and its floor. It's also Earth's largest habitat, odd as that might seem to us land-dwellers, who touch the deep sea only when creatures like oarfish wash ashore. If oarfish look like mythological sea serpents, it's because they probably inspired those accounts.
Legend has it oarfish are harbingers of earthquakes, but it looks like the two from California were just caught in an unfortunate upwelling of currents.
The stoplight loosejaw's extraordinary features are evolutionary responses to the deep sea's unique conditions. In order to spot prey, loosejaws actually project two colors of light from their eyes, revealing animals that have camouflaged themselves. Anglerfish have, in addition to the eponymous fleshy bioluminescent lure growing from their foreheads, yet another of the deep sea's prey-clenching, never-fail mouths.


Near the surface, light nourishes plankton, which form a plentiful foundation for surface food webs.
Whereas stoplight loosejaws have yawning, snaggle-toothed mouths, the vampire squid has the hooked tentacular equivalents.
It's possible, though, that the hooks are actually vestigial, or at least used to seize dead rather than living prey.
Apart from being so mysterious, giant squid emobody another of the deep sea's odd dynamics: body sizes get weird. Near the surface or on the seafloor, there tends to be a regular distribution between small, medium-sized and large animals.
Another of the deep sea's oddly gigantic creatures is Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, translated from Latin as the porcine posterior it resembles.
If most deep-sea creatures are black or red, many also produce their own light as a form of counterillumination.
Just as remarkable, said Dove, is that lanternfish may actually be one of the most abundant animals on the planet.
One recent expedition in the Indian Ocean discovered as many as eight new shark species, including the as-yet-unnamed ghost shark above. Originating in North America, they are a small predator, which hunts both on land and in water. They are non-selective predators capable of killing many of our native wildlife ranging from fish, amphibians, rodents and birds. Although the water vole has evolved with a natural suite of predators (ranging from herons to otters) none of these have the same capabilities as American mink. Gwent Wildlife Trust has been doing this at Magor Marsh since 2006, as have several other conservation organisations across the UK. Currently, the best method is to live capture the mink in a cage and then shoot at point blank range at a specific point on the back of the head.
As a result of our monitoring we have seen water voles spreading out from the reserve into the neighbouring land. It hovered over my yellow squash and cucumber plants several times so I was able to grab my camera and get at least one good picture of it.
It's a strange realm with "no solid surfaces to touch, very little sound, and very little light," said biologist Al Dove of the Georgia Aquarium. From a certain perspective, that great deep sea sensory deprivation chamber could actually be seen as the characteristic condition of life on Earth, with plants and animals as we know them just a scrim of action up top. However, though it's natural to imagine oarfish swimming horizontally, like serpents, they actually float vertically, looking upwards for faint silhouettes of potential prey. On the seafloor, detritus falling from above, such as whale carcasses, provide bursts of nutrients, as do hydrothermal vents and the life they energize. In the deep sea, though, a few species — such as giant squid — have become enormous, while other groups, such as sharks and snails, have lost their smallest and largest body plans.
What makes mink different is the fact they can both swim and run extremely quickly, following the voles in and out of the water.


If a non-target animal were caught (such as a juvenile otter), they would be released immediately, unharmed. Under this tunnel is a basket filled with florists oasis with a layer of clay on top of it.
I’ve never seen anything like it so I’m curious to know what it is and if it is a beneficial garden predator.
In the deep sea, though, the primary source of food is so-called "marine snow," or pieces of dead bodies passing by on their way to the seafloor. It wasn't until 2004 that the first photographs of giant squid, alive and in their natural habitat, were taken by Japanese biologists Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori. A predator looking up will have difficulty distinguishing their silhouettes from faint blue light far above.
There's nothing wrong with that, but there's something about big, unknown animals that catches the imagination — and the deep sea still has them. So, add us to your ad blocker’s whitelist or pay $1 per week for an ad-free version of WIRED. Female and juvenile mink are also small enough to fit into the water vole’s burrow, so the vole has no chance of escape. It is the law that any live trap be checked at least once every 24 hours; we try to check them more frequently than this.
Mink will climb aboard the raft and walk through the tunnel out of curiosity, at the same time leaving footprints on the clay pad.
If you don't get your teeth in, you're going to go hungry in the deep sea, where food is rare. Why this should be, said marine biologist Craig McClain of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, is anybody's guess.
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Conde Nast. A female mink with young to feed is capable of killing all water voles found on a 1.5km stretch of riverbank, in a single breeding season. Volunteers who monitor the rafts, will then be able to detect a mink has recently passed through and can then alert the trapper.
This helps creatures hide from whatever dim light may occur — even the fangtooth, pictured, has predators to worry about — and also requires less energy to produce.
Mink were historically highly sought after to make fur clothing, which led to many mink fur farms being set up across Europe, including the UK. The trapper places a cage in the tunnel and hopefully catches the mink who will often revisits the raft several times. It is these fur farms which resulted in mink becoming an invasive and non-native predator in these countries.



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