top of page
5_Mink_Navarino_A Künzelmann UFZ_edited.
Credit: André Künzelmann (UFZ)

invasive mink.

2022-up to date.
Adaptation of native mice to invasive mink


American mink (Neovison vison) are invasive to the archipelagic Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (Magallanes and Antarctic region, Chile) and many islands even lack native terrestrial predators. Liberated mink from fur farms are present on Tierra del Fuego (TDF) for about four decades, on Navarino Island for about two decades. We asked ourselves whether native rodents, which are an important part of mink´s prey, were able to develop anti-depredator behaviour, where co-existing longer with mink. Through three experiments we recorded the behaviour of native mice through (1) live-trapping with mink scent in Yendegaia (TDF) versus Navarino (photo 1), (2) giving-up-density using food traps with mink scent in Yendegaia versus Navarino (photo 2), and (3) filming the behaviour of native mice when exposed to mink scent. The project is a master thesis currently being implemented.

Sherman trap

Photo 1: Sherman trap with mink scent to record avoidance by native mice.

Food trap mice

Photo 2: Food trap with mink scent to record the amount of rolled oats eaten by native mice.

2021-up to date.
Coastal nesting sites to be protected from invasive mink


The project aim of this master thesis was to identify breeding habitat preferences for solitary ground-nesting birds to protect them from mink predation in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Specifically, we (1) aimed at determining whether small islets are breeding refugees for coastal birds, (2) evaluted landscape variables of breeding habitats using occupancy models, and (3) compared whether Upland geese (Chloephaga picta) built their nests (Photo 3) differently after co-existing with American mink for 15 years.

Neovison vison

Photo 3: Nest of Upland goose on Navarino Island predated by invasive mink.

Population ecology, impact and social acceptance of American mink (Neovison vison), a recent invasive species on Navarino Island, Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile
Doctoral stipend DAAD D/04/38329

The doctoral thesis aimed at understanding the recent invasion of American mink in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, after half a decade of its arrival on Navarino Island in 2001. The work comprised (1) an analysis of mink diet from feaces collected in different semi-aquatic habitats and over different seasons (Schüttler et al. 2008), (2) the vulnerability of single-nesting Upland geese and flightless steamer ducks (Tachyeres pteneres) as well as colonial bird species via nest searches and predation patterns (Schüttler et al. 2009), (3) colonization of the island, habitat preferences, and relative abundance via capture-mark recapture surveys (Schüttler et al. 2010), as well as (4) an exploration of the perception of invasive mink and beavers (Castor canadensis) with members of different socio-cultural groups on the island (Schüttler et al. 2011).

bottom of page