According to state police, in the early hours of Sunday morning, someone broke into a mink farm along Route 890 in Rockefeller Township, south of Sunbury. Whoever broke in cut holes in the fencing and opened up all the cages.
"Approximately 7,000 escaped (from) the facility. Now, how many that got outside the fenced area, we don't know, but it was a sizable number from our estimation," said Pennsylvania Game Warden Mike Workman.
Thousands of mink are now roaming a section of Northumberland County. All mink released were bred in captivity and may be different from those found in the wild.
"The mink that escaped are going to be a couple of different colors. You're going to see them in the white color phase, black and brown. Now, most of the wild mink are going to be of that brown and tannish color.'"
Workman had some advice about what you should do if you see one.
"Just stay away. Don't touch it, don't try to trap it, and don't try to catch it. They will bite you, and they can potentially hurt you. We want to make sure the public is safe."
These mink could also pose a threat to other animals. The nearby Sunbury Animal Hospital talked about ways to keep your pets safe.
"Don't let (pets) out unattended. Take your dogs out on a leash. Mink might not be big enough to go after a big dog, but that doesn't mean they can't get injured by one. I would suspect cats and kittens, kittens especially, could be at risk," said Dr. Beverly
Any animals you keep outdoors could be at risk.
"People with koi ponds, with backyard poultry and rabbits outside should talk to the Game Commission or check the internet for ways to discourage the mink from getting into those areas."
Along Route 890, Newswatch 16 saw more than a dozen along the road that have been hit and killed by cars. The mink farm is now working to trap the mink that have escaped.
As far as who broke into the mink farm and opened all the cages, that's under investigation by state police.
The mink will range in size from 12-20 inches. They will be black, brown, or white in color.
Watch the video below to see one of the minks Newswatch 16's Chris Keating spotted Monday evening along Route 890 just south of Sunbury.
What do I do if I see a mink?
Northumberland County established a phone line for residents to call to report a loose mink found on their property. That number is 570-988-4217.
If residents catch a mink in a trap, they should take the mink to Sunbury Animal Hospital, 3920 state Route 890, Sunbury.
Dead minks should be reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 833-742-4868 (833-PGC-HUNT) or 833-742-9453 (833-PGC-WILD).
Live minks can be dangerous and may bite residents. Authorities are advising residents not to approach or attempt to catch minks without a safe and proper trap.
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