Bulgaria bans minks breeding and import
The Environment and Water Ministry said it is banning the import and breeding of mink, which is a non-native and invasive species in Europe. The American mink, a carnivore native to North America, is farmed on other continents due to its prized fur.
Minister Borislav Sandov's draft order provides for introducing a ban on the import and breeding of mink [Neovison vison] on Bulgaria's territory. The grounds for this are based on texts in the Biodiversity Act, according to which the Minister can ban the import, breeding and raising of non-endemic flora and fauna species, including sub-species, if their accidental release into the wild could threaten the existence of local species.
The order aims to reduce the mink numbers in Bulgaria by banning their import or breeding in order to limit the risk of their release into the wild and reduce the direct threat to biodiversity in Bulgaria.
According to biodiversity experts, there is a serious risk for mink raised on farms to quickly spread and reproduce in the wild. This would replace native species and destroy local species of protected mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.
Monitoring by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences' biodiversity institute shows that a total of 108 minks have escaped from farms between 2017 and 2019, of whom 27 were discovered to be living in the wild.
The American mink is included in the list of 100 most dangerous invasive species for Europe. American mink has been reported in the wild in 24 EU Member States, while sustainable populations have been established in 19 of them.
Sandov's order, which is published on his Ministry's website, will be subject to public discussions until May 10.