Protecting the habitat

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Threatened natural habitats

Degradation, fragmentation and destruction of the natural habitat of the European mink is a major threat for the conservation of its populations. Several actions are dedicated to protect its habitat.

Land acquisition and pre-emptive rights

To ensure sustainable preservation and restoration of the habitats of importance for the European mink, the LIFE VISON programme aims at purchasing fields thanks to the Charente-Maritime County Council and the implementation of pre-emptive areas in the sensitive natural areas in Charente-Maritime.

Expected results:

  • Acquisition of 30 hectares in Charente-Maritime
  • Implementation of 500 hectares of pre-emptive areas in Charente-Maritime

Providing management plans

Some work practices on plots of local land, located near watercourses, are not suitable for the preservation of the European mink. This is especially the case for cultivated plots, wood production plots and leisure activities areas.

The LIFE VISON programme will bring together the relevant local authorities in order to help them in management planning for nature conservation sites with an environmental approach.

Expected results: :

  • Providing 10 simplified management plans within the entire LIFE Vison area

Breeding sites protection

Breeding sites will be identified due to the monitoring of the radio-tracked individuals during breeding season. Similar sites which seem favourable for European mink in or out of the breeding season will also be identified. These areas of less than 1 hectare, called refuge areas, will be managed according to a list of specifications (implementation of fences against predation, maintenance of the vegetation…). The refuge areas may be implemented on public, private or collectivity plots.

Expected results: :

  • Implementation of 40 refuge areas near the Charente River and its tributaries.

Habitat restoration

mégaphorbiaies, habitats d’intérêt communautaire procurant des abris au Vison d’Europe

Tall grass meadows (© Emmanuelle Champion / LPO)

The riparian woodlands and alluvial tall grass are habitats of community interest which provide refuges during the day for the European mink. However, these habitats are threatened by factors such as tree cutting, disruption & drying out of waterways.

cladiaies, habitats remarquables fréquentés par le Vison d’Europe

Swamp sawgrass (© Alexis Orseau / LPO)

Sedges, Swamp sawgrass and ponds are habitats characterized by a rich biodiversity. The food reserves are abundant in these habitats, so they are important for the preservation of the European mink, however they are threatened by the cultivation of fields, drainage and backfill.

Moreover, some of the flooded areas, rich in vegetation, are favorable to fish reproduction.

Expected results:

  • Restoration or creation of 25 ha of alluvial woodlands on the LIFE area
  • Restoration or creation of 20 ha of hygrophilous tall grasses, Sedges and Swamp sawgrass on the LIFE area
  • Restoration or creation of 10 ponds on the LIFE area
  • Restoration or creation of 2 spawning grounds in Charente and 3 in Charente-Maritime

Roads improvements

Road collisions are one of the main explanations of European minks mortality. They are often the result of wildlife crossings not adapted for semi aquatic mammals. In fact, some of the works put in place were an obstacle for their movements favouring migratory fish.

Ouvrage d’art aménagé avec une passerelle flottante pour le passage des petits mammifères tel que le Vison d’Europe. Ouvrage d’art aménagé avec une buse sèche permettant le passage de la faune tel que le Vison d’Europe.. Encorbellement, aménagement d’ouvrage d’art pour le passage des petits mammifères tel que le Vison d’Europe

Examples of construction work. Up: Wildlife crossing under a bridge: floating walkway (© Sylvain Fagart / LPO). At the left bottom: Example of adaptation with dry tunnel under a road (© Sylvain Fagart / LPO). At the right bottom : Wildlife crossing under a bridge with arched tunnel (© GREGE)

One of the actions of the programme consists of reducing the mortality by adapting passages for mammals, especially semi aquatic.

Expected results:

  • 15 adapted bridges and roads in Charente-Maritime

LIFE Vison


It is a carnivorous mammal belonging to the Mustelidae family. It is classified as “critically endangered” according to IUCN’s Red List of threatened species.






LIFE VISON Project Coordinator

Ingrid Marchand


+33 5 46 82 12 45


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