Villagers and police armed with nets and gloves hunted for thousands of missing mink on Wednesday after the animals escaped from a fur farm in central Spain, officials said.
The mink fled after unknown attackers knocked down more than 80 yards of fence and opened cages in the early hours of Tuesday, a civil guard spokesman said.
"About two thirds of the animals on the farm escaped, 13,000 or so," he said. "This was not just an act of vandalism. An investigation is open."
Worries of Damage to Ecosystem
The farm is in the town of La Puebla de Valverde, population 500, in the province of Teruel some 200 miles east of Madrid. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although Spain has several active animal rights groups.
The mink have to be recaptured as soon as possible before they cause damage to the local ecosystem, officials said.
They are an American variety, not native to Spain, and would attack partridges and rabbits and compete for food with other predators such as ferrets.
"We have recovered a good number but it's getting more difficult as they go into hiding," said Alejandro Cercos, the mayor of La Puebla.