Originally found in North America, the American mink was introduced to the Chilean Patagonia as a result of fur farming activities and since then the species has expanded and established to many regions of Southern Chile. Although there is no nation-wide control of the species, for the past five years, the Chilean Service for Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) of the Los Ríos Region, with the support of the Regional Government of Los Ríos, has implemented a large-scale participatory control programme in order to reduce the hardship to smallholder poultry farmers caused by mink predation and to preserve indigenous biodiversity on which ecotourism relies. The programme has removed 5375 mink since September 2015, and observed a decline in depredation claims by farmers. Until recently, the programme was limited to distributing traps only within the boundaries of Los Ríos Region. However, given the reduction in depredation claims and the increasing realisation of the need of managing the impacts of invasive species in Chile, the programme received permission to expand mink trapping and monitoring in the two adjacent regions of Araucanía and Los Lagos.
Given the availability of bibliographic data on the species’ demography and population dynamics from other sites, as well as, the data collected from the ongoing large-scale control programme by SAG, the CONTAIN project aims to understand better and forecast reinvasion patterns of the species and exploit their spatial dynamics in order to optimise future management efforts. Also, through the participation of various public and private sector actors including the Río Cruces Wetland Center (CEHUM), the National Forest Corporation (CONAF, Los Ríos) and the University Austral de Chile (UACh), CONTAIN not only emerges as an opportunity for adaptive co-management of a highly dispersing invasive species, but also for improving the way the government and communities deal with this important issue.