MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - The European mink, one of the most endangered mammals in the world, should be included in the Red Data Book of Russia, a spokesman at the International Union of Game Biologists Congress said on Tuesday.
The European mink population declined rapidly in the 20th century across many European countries, Igor Tumanov said.
"The European mink is mostly found in northern and northwestern Russia, some minks also live in the country's central region," he said, adding that the European mink's habitat has significantly decreased over the last 25 years, and resources necessary for the animal's survival have declined by 25-33%.
Tumanov pointed out that man-made environmental changes, including coastal pollution, are the main cause of the decline in numbers in both Russia and Europe. In addition the rapid rise of the American mink has compounded the problem, the expert said, adding that Russia needed to introduce a hunting ban on the mammal.
Governmental organizations and scientists accept that urgent measures are required to protect the European mink, which is already classified as vulnerable in the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).