Ferrets on La Palma

A pet ferret being blessed in Fuencaliente, La Palma, Canary Islands
A pet ferret being blessed in at the church in Fuencaliente

Ferrets are a common pet here. They’re mostly used for hunting wild rabbits, which are plentiful. The trouble is that occasionally they escape. Since there are plenty of wild rabbits, they do rather well, so we also have a population of wild ferrets. In fact, in 2010 scientists found that La Palma was the island with the highest number of wild ferrets in the Canaries. The scientists say that, “the effect of wild ferrets on the native fauna of the island is currently unknown” but it’s unlikely to be good. We have some rare bird species which nest on the ground, like the laurel pigeon (Columba junoniae) and the Eurasian woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) which would logically be vulnerable.

A traditional ferret holder in Barlovento craft fair, La Palma island
A traditional ferret holder in Barlovento craft fair

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