More on the polecat...

Quick post just to say that I've identified the animal that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  At the time I was convinced it was a polecat and many of you seemed to think so too. But whilst in Wales this week I started mulling it over again and did some more research.  I'd never really been convinced that what we saw totally matched the pics of polecats, although it did seem like the most likely.

I'd look at many images online, but what I couldn't square was the white bits on the ears and head.  So yesterday when I came across a pic of a mink I was amazed to see that it was the spitting image of the creature we saw running around the outside of our home.
They're quite different but similar.  On reading further it transpires that all feral minks in the UK are descended from a few that were imported from the US in the late 1920s for breeding due to their valuable pelts.  The fur farmers didn't count on them being so clever at escaping, so now we, and apparently the rest of Europe, have an indigenous population, unfortunately seriously messing with the natural order of things. 

This poor creature has been blamed variously for all sorts of problems, associated with the decline of otters, water vole, seabirds and frogs. But in my opinion you can't blame the mink for any of this, rather it's man's insatiable greed that, as ever, is constantly destroying habitats all over the globe. If women would be satisfied to wear the skin that they were born with and afford minks the same privilege, none of this would have been a problem. There would have been no market for the pelts, the mink would have remained in its native home rather than 3000 miles away wreaking havoc, and the natural balance and bio-diversity would have been maintained. 

Being a vegetarian, of course I don't wear fur, but even if I wasn't a vegetarian I wouldn't choose to breed animals in captivity to rob them of their coats simply because it happens to be fashionable.  I take a different view of cultures where the climate is extreme and killing an animal for both food and its fur is a necessity and as such is part of the natural order. 
I've been involved in the fashion industry for many years and it has never sat easily with me. The throw away, consuming culture of wanton waste that fashion cultivates, dependent on exploitation and greed, goes against everything I hold dear. 

Sorry to rant, this just seemed to touch a nerve about all the concerns constantly being aired in the media - global warming, melting ice-caps, disappearing forests, freak weather. It's important sometimes to just stop and take a rain check - even if we're powerless to stop it, at least let's try to understand what's happening and have an open dialogue about the world we live in. We all need a grand plan for a sustainable future before it's too late. 

Meanwhile our feral mink is doing a pretty good job keeping the rabbits out of our garden.


  1. We have mink up and down the river by us, and I've seen them empty out nests and take ducklings - but as you say, they're only doing what they do and it's not their fault they are in the wrong place. Fierce little creatures, and surprisingly small. Apparently the only thing that they really respect in the wild are otters, who fill the same place in the system. (One has actually faced down me and both dogs at the same time!)


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