paper published April 2009 studies the survival rate of captive-bred mink.
The study tracked the survival of captive-bred mink over eight years.
set out to answer the following questions:
is the survival rate of released mink and how does it
change with time since release?
2. Do age, sex of an individual, and the conditions in which it is
kept prior to release, affect its subsequent survival in the wild?
3. What are causes of mortality?
of the factors which could mitigate the relevance of this study are:
*The study was done with endangered European mink, not the commonly farmed
North American mink.
*The study did not specify how many generations the mink had been bred in
captivity (though, as reprinted below, it concluded this was not relevant
was no evidence that the number of generations for which the lineage of
the released individuals had been bred in captivity had any effect on survival."
mink survived for "up to 39 months"
main cause of death was other carnivores and raptors, although this broad
categorization may conceal a diversity of fatal scenarios."
deaths were caused by humans: one was shot, the second was hit by a car
and the third was beaten to death when venturing into a farmyard."
of the released European mink died within the first ten days. Survival decreased
by half in 38 days and then stabilised....Overall, we conclude that mink
adapt to the wild c. 1–1.5 months after release."
were found to have died (directly) due to lack of survival skills. However,
"although predators are the proximate cause of death, the ultimate
causes may be a syndrome of mal-adaptations."
results show that genetically managed, long-term breeding programs within
the zoo community can be a source of individuals for re-introductions".
cites past studies on the release of captive-bred ferrets, otters, weasels,
and fox, which may be of interest to people on this list.
includes graphs charting survival rates and more.
the study here: http://www.scribd.com/full/23185897?access_key=key-3dw3eoopk5rogy7zvyt
rates of free-ranging farm mink suggest quick behavioural adaptation to
natural conditions. M. Hammershøj & M.C. Forchhammer