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(PWA069) Assessing the health status and contaminant burdens of mink from Louisiana and South Carolina.
Tansy, Carrie L.1, Bowerman, William W.1, Bryant, Kathyrn E.1, Fischer, John R.2, Davidson, William R.2, Kinler, Noel3, Baker, O.E. Buddy4, 1 2 3 4
ABSTRACT- Mink (Mustela vison) are highly sensitive to environmental contaminants, especially PCBs, PCDFs, and PCDDs. Therefore, they are a good sentinel species to monitor environmental health. Mink are absent or rarely encountered along the coastal plain of South Carolina between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. An analysis of risk to mink conducted in the early 1990s along the coastal areas of Georgia and the Carolinas found a potential effect of PCBs and mercury. This may be tied to a decline in mink populations in these areas. A reintroduction project is ongoing which has translocated mink collected from Acadia Parish, Louisiana and areas near Edisto and Hilton Head Islands, South Carolina. The health status and contaminant burdens of a representative sample of mink were determined from both of these source populations. Tissues were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and mercury. Body condition, ectoparasites, endoparasites, viral screens, and general disease status were determined. These source populations are able to provide healthy, disease-free animals with contaminant burdens below concentrations that would threaten the success of the reintroduction effort.
Key words: Mink, PCBs, mercury, Southeastern US
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