Photo: Bubba55 / FLICKR, Great Auk by John Guold. These include the sea mink, caribou, eastern cougar, and wolf. Likewise, their larger size may have allowed the males to target larger prey than the females, and they may have had to defend females during mating seasons. The last known Great Auks were killed on an island off Iceland in 1844. The latter is most likely, as no other mink remains have been discovered between Casco Bay in Maine and southeastern Massachusetts. It was most closely related to the American mink ( Neovison vison ), with continuing debate about whether or not the sea mink should be considered a subspecies of the American mink (making it Neovison vison macrodon ) or a species of … If it was out of reach of the hunters, it was shot and then retrieved using an iron rod with a screw on the far end. [16] Mead concluded that only American minks inhabited the mainland and that sea minks were restricted to islands off the coast. The sea mink was first described in 1903, after its extinction; information regarding its external appearance and habits stem from speculation and from accounts made by fur traders and Native Americans. The specimen was described as having coarse fur that was reddish-tan in color, though much of it was likely faded from age. [6][7] A study in 1911 by Frederic Brewster Loomis, an American paleontologist, concluded that the differences between the American mink and the sea mink were too minute to justify the latter's classification as a separate species, and he named it Lutreola vison antiquus. [4][13][20] In 1929, Ernest Thompson Seton, a wildlife artist, concluded that the probable dimensions for this animal are 91.4 centimeters (36 in) from head to tail, with the tail being 25.4 centimeters (10 in) long. The unregulated fur trade eventually led to its extinction, which is thought to have occurred between 1860 and 1920. Although mink are known prey generalists, both mink and otter have diets that include fish and crayfish, The northern bog … [14] Due to the overlap of American mink and sea mink ranges, it is possible that they hybridized with each other. It may have even evolved there, as Maine at that time would have been covered in glaciers, although the oldest known specimen only dates back to around 5,000 years; this could be due to the rising sea levels—older sea mink remains may be submerged underwater. [6], During the last glacial period, ending 12,000 years ago, the sea mink's range may have extended south of the Gulf of Maine. Other important producers are Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Minnesota. [13] In fact, the most notable characteristic of the skull was its size, in that it was clearly larger than that of other mink species, having a wide rostrum, large nostril openings, large antorbital fenestrae (openings in the skull in front of the eye socket), and large teeth. Other than a chipped canine, all the teeth are in good condition. The loss of old growth forests across the state, which were necessary to provide lichens for the caribou, also contributed to the decline of the species, which was last seen in Maine on the saddle of Mt. Its relatives, as well as descriptions by fur traders and Native Americans, give a general idea of this animal's appearance and its ecological roles. Mustelids are very dependent on good prey populations due to small digestive tracts. It is very exciting to see an animal in the wild and often times we only get a quick glimpse before it disappears. Woodland Caribou were uniquely suited to the old growth forests and deep snow of the Maine woods, where they fed primarily on lichens. Its actual size is speculative, based largely on tooth remains. The population of mink in Maine has done very well for many years but there is worry that water pollution will hurt the food sources for mink. It may have exhibited behavior similar to the American mink, in that it probably maintained home ranges, was polygynandrous, and had a similar diet, though more seaward-oriented. Unfortunately, they were large and easy to hunt, making them prime targets for unregulated hunting. We need to ensure the continuation of these laws and others in order to keep Maine full of incredible wildlife. Thankfully, we’ve gotten better about understanding our impact on wildlife, and laws like the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act have helped protect thousands of species avoid a similar fate. [13], Fur traders who hunted it gave the sea mink various names, including water marten, red otter, and fisher cat. Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people in education, conservation, and action. Katahdin in 1908. To have the opportunity to observe wildlife, it is first important to know the habitat which animals are most likely to be in. [9] Graham challenged that hypothesis, stating that it is unlikely that all sea mink specimens originate from one population. The connecting thread between each of these unfortunate stories is human impact. However, that larger size meant they were a prime target, and unregulated trapping meant that Sea Mink were a rare sight as early as 1860. in the late 1500s as "a fish like a greyhound", which was a reference to its affinity for the sea and its body shape and gait, which were apparently similar to that of a greyhound. Most sea mink remains, nearly all of them skull fragments, have come from shell middens, but a complete specimen has never been found. This large flightless seabird once ranged all across the North Atlantic where it lived a life similar to Atlantic Puffins or Razorbills: breeding on small rocky islands in the spring and summer and spreading out on the open ocean to find food in winter. From the herds of Woodland Caribou that used to roam northern Maine, that’s where! Rattlesnakes were extirpated from Maine probably before the turn of the 20th century. The main justification for a separate species designation is the size difference between the two minks, but other distinctions have been made, such as its redder fur. It is possible that the fisher (Pekania pennanti) got its name from being mistakenly identified as the sea mink, which was also known as the fisher by fur traders. The rugged shorelines of the Down East region of Maine may have represented a northernmost barrier in their range. Many different kinds of Mammals live in the variety of ecosystems found in Maine. [4] Fur traders reported that sea mink dens had two entrances, and were made in the rocks piled up by the waves. Here are five animals that are no longer found in Maine. [4], The taxonomy of the minks was revised in 2000, resulting in the formation of a new genus, Neovison, which includes only the sea mink and the American mink. Prentiss based his description on skull fragments recovered from Native American shell middens in New England. The only known remains are bone fragments unearthed in Native American shell middens. There were also white spots on the left forearm and the groin region. [4], Like other minks, individual sea minks may have maintained home ranges, and since the males were larger and required more food, males would have had larger territorial claims. [13][15], The sea mink was a marine mammal that lived around the rocky coasts of New England and the southernmost Maritime Provinces until it was hunted to extinction in the late 19th or early 20th century. The specimen is apparently larger than the Alaskan mink (N. v. nesolestes), as the average distance between the last incisor to the first molar is 2.8 centimeters (1.1 in) in the Alaskan mink, whereas that distance is 3 centimeters (1.2 in) in the type specimen. [13] It was named "sea mink" because it was always found near the coast by fur traders, and subsequently the American mink was often referred to as the "wood mink". [4], As marine mammal species often play a large part in their ecosystems, it is possible that the sea mink was an important intertidal predator. Image: University of Glasgow Library / FLICKR, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth, Maine 04105. [5][13], These minks were large and heavily built, with a low sagittal crest and short, wide postorbital processes (projections on the frontal bone behind the eye sockets). [4], The sea mink was pursued by fur traders due to its large size; this made it more desirable than other mink species further inland. [13] There were reports of unusually large mink furs being collected from Nova Scotia regularly. To have the opportunity to observe wildlife, it is first important to know the habitat which animals are most likely to be in. It was most closely related to the American mink (Neovison vison), with continuing debate about whether or not the sea mink should be considered a subspecies of the American mink (making it Neovison vison macrodon) or a species of its own.