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Keywords:

  • mustelid;
  • questionnaire survey;
  • trapping;
  • hunting records;
  • conservation;
  • wildlife protection

ABSTRACT

1. The presence and distribution of the polecat Mustela putorius in Luxembourg was studied for the first time. Postal surveys were conducted among all the tenants of the hunting areas and all the farmers in the country.

2. Except for the otter Lutra lutra, the polecat appears to be the least common mustelid in Luxembourg. Farmers and hunters perceived the polecat differently according to their interests. Farmers had a more tolerant attitude towards the species but 17% still considered it a pest.

3. Live trapping of polecats was carried out for 3 years: 16 individuals were caught. This suggests a very low population density. Hunting records of this mustelid were examined for the period 1955–2000. There has been a very strong decrease in the number of polecats killed, giving rise to concerns that its population may be dramatically declining. Moreover, hunting data from neighbouring Germany confirm that this is a regional situation.