Nearly 2,000 mink escaped from a Wisconsin farm on Saturday. Authorities suspect the weasel-like animals were released in protest.
Several residents reported mink roaming around the community. Calumet County deputies responded to the Bonlander Fur farm to investigate.
As reported by Green Bay Press Gazette, the Bolander family checked their barns and discovered numerous broken locks and cages. Close to 2,000 mink were missing from their enclosures.
Virginia and Gary Bolander gathered a crew of more than 100 friends, family, and neighbors, to search for the missing mink. Virginia describes the animals as “very fast and very sly.”
Armed with long gloves, nets, and traps, the search party scoured the area. They eventually captured around 1,500 mink and returned them to the barn.
As reported by Fox 11, the animals are worth up to $150 a piece. When fully mature, they are usually shipped to Canada, where they will become coats, hats, and fashion accessories.
Bolander Fur was founded in 1978. This is the first time the farm was targeted by vandals. Although the farm is mentioned on numerous activist websites, the Bolanders never installed a security system.
Fur farms around Wisconsin, and throughout the nation, have faced similar issues. Animal rights activists often release animals that are raised for fur. Despite awareness programs, there is still a demand for clothing and accessories made with real fur.
Virginia said the breach was a wake-up call. She and her husband contacted a security company to ensure the mink will remain in the barn.
The Calument County Sheriff’s Department is working with the FBI to investigate the intrusion. If identified, the vandals will likely face charges of destruction of property and causing loss of profit.
Although most of the 2,000 mink were found, 500 remain missing. They are valued at around $75,000. Virginia said the missing animals will likely die, as they are dependant on the farmers for food and care.
[Image via Wikimedia]