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The Mink Are Running Free in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin

The Mink Are Running Free in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin

About 10,000 Mink Are Running Loose in Northwest Ohio

An Ohio State University-led study found that more than 10,000 mink in western Ohio and a large swath of Michigan are running loose at the moment, with more than 2,400 mink running free in the greater Cleveland area alone – a phenomenon not seen since the 1950s, according to the study.

That’s an average of about 6,800 mink in the three western states, according to the study.

All of those running loose are descendants of two genetically distinct mink populations, and the study suggests that they are all part of the same population.

The mink in northwest Ohio are descendants of an immigrant population that crossed into the Midwest from the Great Lakes region and established colonies there. They eventually spread their way westward across the Great Lakes region, including portions of Michigan and Wisconsin.

The native mink population in Michigan was also a blend of native and immigrant mink, with the native mink being descendants of native mink that originally settled Europe. The researchers call this native mink their “ancestral stock.”

“We know the native mink were an important source of mink for the late 1850s and early 1860s in the United States, but we have no idea how many there were,” said John Neely, professor of biology at Ohio State and co-author of the study published in the latest edition of the journal Mink.

“We know the mink in the Great Lakes region migrated there as mink, but how many mink came from the Great Lakes region? We don’t know. And we know the native mink mink in parts of Wisconsin were also mink, as were the mink in Michigan. So we can’t be sure how many mink came from the Great Lakes region.”

The researchers’ data and conclusions are

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