A young baby female mink was recently found crying, alone and distressed. With no mother in sight and the baby vocalizing continuously, she had to be brought to the BC SPCA’s Wild ARC for help.
“Our rehabilitation team stabilized the baby mink and tried to locate the den she came from – a wild animal’s best chance of survival is always with their mother,” says Tara Thom, Wild ARC’s assistant manager. “Unfortunately, the original den was not found and another den with similar-aged babies wasn’t located either. Without these essential factors to try and reintroduce or foster the baby mink with another family, it meant she was truly orphaned and a long-term rehabilitation plan had to be made to raise her at Wild ARC.”
The baby mink will be provided with a specialized diet and regular weight checks to ensure she is developing properly until she gets older and is ready to be weaned onto an adult wild diet. While initially fussy with her feedings, this young mink quickly took to her new formula within a few days. Her eyes are now opened and she’s becoming more and more adventurous.
According to Thom, every young wild animal can become habituated or imprinted on humans and for an animals’ best success, they should be rehabilitated with their own kind. Wild ARC works closely with other wildlife rehabilitation centres on Vancouver Island. When they heard MARS Wildlife Rescue Hospital in Merville also had a single orphaned baby mink, plans were made for a transfer to Wild ARC! The two mink have been introduced and it didn’t take them long to hit it off! These two will be moved through different enclosures quickly to keep up with their growth and to allow them to practice natural behaviours like foraging and climbing before being released.
“They both still have some growing to do but we’re hopeful they will be ready for a second chance at life in the wild in a little over a month,” says Thom.
During this time, it is extremely important to provide enrichment and enclosure setups that mimic what would be found in their natural habitat. Protecting the mink from the potential of becoming habituated to humans is also very important and vital for a successful release back into the wild.
The enclosures, specialized diets, and resources required to raise these American Mink safely with proper biosecurity measures means that the cost to rehabilitate them has been and will continue to be significant.