During his visit to Estonia, the European Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius visited Tallinn Zoo on Saturday, 21 January. The Commissioner for Environment and the Estonian Minister of the Environment alongside with their delegations met at the Tallinn Zoo educational centre, and then visited the European mink breeding centre and conservation lab.
Initiatives for protecting and preserving the mink population were launched by Tallinn Zoo more than 40 years ago. In 1992, the European mink population management programme (EEP) was rolled out across Europe and has been coordinated by Tallinn Zoo ever since. Over these years, more than 1,200 European minks have been born at the breeding centre and it offers a permanent conservation community for more than a hundred of them. Minks born at the centre are being bred to help restore the population of the species in their natural habitats. In 2000, the zoo released a community of minks into the wild of Hiiumaa, which resulted in a permanent mink population on the island by 2016. At present, a similar project is being carried out on the island of Saaremaa. In 2021, a community of minks born at the Tallinn Zoo breeding centre helped in starting a permanent population on the upper reach of the Aragón River in Spain.
The European mink conservation activities at Tallinn Zoo have been undertaken in close collaboration with the Estonian Ministry of the Environment and the Estonian Environmental Board. The breeding centre and conservation lab have largely been financed by European Union funds.
Photos: Heiko Kruusi