Bulgaria bans import and breeding of American minks

Bulgaria’s Environment Minister Borislav Sandov has signed an order under the Biodiversity Act prohibiting the import and breeding of the American mink (Neovison vison) on the territory of Bulgaria, the Environment Ministry said on June 1.

The decision is aimed at reducing the total number of specimens of the American mink species in order to reduce the risk of them being released into the wild, and to reduce the direct threat to biodiversity in Bulgaria, the Environment Ministry said.

“The ban on breeding and import of minks in Bulgaria is already a fact. After the public discussion and the opinions on all the comments received, I signed the final banning order,” Sandov said.

“These animals are an invasive species for Bulgaria, which causes serious damage to local ecosystems,” he said.

He said that the conditions in Bulgaria’s sole mink farm were untoward, and were the reason why in recent years escaped minks had entered wildlife areas and caused damage.

Because of its strong negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as on the economy in Europe, the species is included by scientists under number 19 in the list of 100 most dangerous invasive alien species in Europe and priority invasive alien species for Bulgaria.

Various bans regarding mink farming and imports have been introduced in several European Union countries and the UK in the past 20 years.

Outside the EU, a ban on keeping the animals for their valuable fur has been introduced in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Israel, New Zealand, parts of the United States and Canada, among other places.

Sandov’s order will enter into force after its publication in the State Gazette. It will be additionally published on the website of the Environment Ministry.

(Photo via the website of the Environment Ministry)

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