POLICE your pets was the warning issued this week to animal lovers.
Horses, dogs, cats, birds and fish and other animals are under threat from a new strain of killer that takes no prisoners.
A number of casualties have already been reported.
So serious is the situation that Limerick City Council is drawing up an action policy to tackle the hordes of mink, before the predators make further inroads.
The city manager has been made aware of the situation and councillors have been informed that the mink, which are not native to Ireland, have been attacking and killing birds, fish and animals.
“They have a devastating effect on all wildlife – but they also attack dogs and horses. They don’t run in packs, but already they have wiped out flocks of coot and moorhen. Birdwatch Ireland is very worried about the effect they have had on ground nesting birds,” Sean Griffin, a member of the Environmental Strategic Policy Committee, told a meeting of the City Council’s Environmental Committee.
“These mink have to be trapped and eradicated and I’m very glad that our fishermen will be brought in on this as the mink could wipe out our salmon stocks as well – we’ll hardly see one leaping upstream this year”.
Informing his colleagues that in captivity the mink’s coat is brown, and is black when they are free to roam, Mr Griffin described minks as killers.
“Water hens on our river banks are nearly all gone, because of the mink – they will have to be exterminated.
“I know of one man who lives on the Mill Road, Corbally, and is an expert on the river and its wildlife – he was stunned to recently find that ducks, water hens and other species that regularly came up to his riverside house were found to have been killed by the mink”.
City Hall executive Paul Foley said that the provision of finance for an eradication programme would be a hurdle.
“Eradication is not cheap but we will, though, be drafting a policy for their control as a priority.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved