§ Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many trappers of wild mink are still engaged by his Department; whether one operates in Dorset; and what estimate he has made of the increase or decrease in the wild mink population.
§ Mr. Mackie
Of the nine trappers originally engaged by the Ministry specifically to trap wild mink, three remain on this work, including one operating in Dorset, but they will shortly be withdrawn as owners and occupiers of land are now being encouraged to undertake control themselves. Expert advice is freely available and, where126W necessary, cage traps are being loaned without charge. It is not possible to estimate the trend in the wild mink population, but we shall continue to keep a close watch on the position to ensure that the pressure on wild mink is not relaxed.