First introduced for fur farming in the 1920s the American Mink became established in the wild in the 1950s as a result of escapes and deliberate introductions. The first phase of the Hebridean Mink Project was started in 2001 with the aim of eradicating this species to to protect the internationally important ground nesting and migratory birds. This phase eradicated mink from North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist and reduced their numbers significantly in South Harris. This was followed by phase two which aimed to establish a buffer zone for the Uists by concentrated trapping first on South Harris and then gradually moving north and west through Lewis towards Ness. The eradication programme is now almost complete and monitoring is currently being carried out to ensure that no mink re-establish in areas that have been cleared and the final few individuals are caught.
The importance of continued surveillance is illustrated by the immediate response of the trapping team to reports of mink on North Uist in 2015. Small numbers have been trapped and work will be continuing to ensure that mink will be completely erradicated from the islands.