Wildlife of Estonia
Sixty-four species of mammals have been recorded in Estonia, three of them have been introduced: the racoon dog, the American mink and the muskrat. The European beaver, hunted to extinction by 1871, was reintroduced in 1950s and a vital population of about 9 000 animals exists once again in Estonia. Another reintroduced mammal is the red deer with a present population of about 1 100.
Estonia is the home of several rare mammals, the most endangered of them being the European mink, several species of dormouse and the flying squirrel. The latter has become a symbol of the primeval forest, the most important monument to Estonian nature.
Although not as many as 1 100, as estimated by over-enthusiastic hunters, there are still hundreds of lynx dwelling in the large forests of Estonia, together with 300 wolves, more than 500 brown bears and many more smaller carnivores. The disproportionally large number of predators, especially that of wolves, has recently caused serious damage to the population of both of the most numerous species of large mammals in Estonia, the roe deer and the wild boar, as well as the elk.
Estonia’s sparse population and large areas of forest have allowed stocks of European Lynx, Wild Boar, Brown Bears, and moose to survive, among other animals. Estonia is thought to have a wolf population of around 200,Polysticta stelleri), Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) and Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), wetland birds like the Great Snipe (Gallinago media), dry open country birds like the Corn Crake (Crex crex) and European Roller (Coracias garrulus) and large birds of prey like the Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga). Estonia has five national parks, including Lahemaa National Park on the northern coast as the largest. Soomaa National Park, between Pärnu and Viljandi, is known for its wetlands. which is considered slightly above the optimum range (100-200). Estonian birdlife is characterized by rare seabirds like the Steller’s Eider (
The Brown Bear population in Estonia is 600 and rising. Their primary “home” is in Alutaguse, the large forested region that includes a national park and a bog in northeastern Estonia, close to the Russian border.
Join us on this nature tour where we’ll investigate the life, behavior and habitats of the Brown Bear. Last season there was 92% chance of seeing one of these spectacular predators, but other animals often come into viewing range, as well.
We’re guaranteed to easily find claw marks, slots and droppings, tracks and marks as we drive and walk, assisted by our experienced tracking guide. In the evening we’ll head for the bears’ feeding area and set up for the night in the hide, which offers comfortable viewing and photographing, with 8 seats, bunks, and a dry toilet.
Mammal watching in Estonia – good piece
I was thinking about trying to see a Eurasian Flying Squirrel and not having much luck getting information on where to look in Finland. And then Phil Telfer’s Estonian report arrived (see below). It was a sign. A few days later I had arranged a long weekend to look for the Squirrel and also European Mink which, to my surprise, still survive in Estonia.
This time from Alutaguse western taiga forests in N-E of Estonia.
With Uudo Timm we visited flying-squirrel habitats- forests with old aspen and young spruce. Looked for droppings of flying- squirrel and potentsial new habitats.