Wildlife of Finland

Finland boasts an excellent range of wildlife and flora. 1000 bears still roam what has been termed Europe’s last wilderness.

Wildlife Extra on Finland

Anyone with an interest in nature and wildlife should consider a journey to Finland. Barely more than a couple of hours’ flight from the UK, Finland has a fine array of flora and fauna very different from most of the rest of Europe.

Bear watching in Finland. Taiga forests are home to good numbers of brown bears with excellent viewing opportunities. Read more

Visit Finland (Offical Tourist Guide)

Finland’s claim to be one of Europe’s last wildernesses is well-founded. The country, covered with broad lakes and enormous forests, is bigger than the UK but contains only a twelfth of its population, so getting away from the crowds is much easier here than in many other European countries. The forests, dominated by birch, pine and spruce, are also home to some exotic wildlife.

About 1,000 brown bears inhabit Finland, for example, but although they have grown bolder in recent years, they are essentially shy of humans and you are unlikely to encounter them in the forest. Elks are also very common: you should take the warning signs on Finnish roads very seriously, since these large animals can appear suddenly on the road and are slow to budge.

In the far north, the lynx is still a native, but you’ll be very lucky to spot one in the wild. The reindeer, on the other hand, is extremely common in Lapland in the north, and you would be unlucky not to spot these creatures while driving above the Arctic Circle. These animals are semi-domesticated but are allowed to roam to find food. Reindeer herding remains an important source of livelihood for the Lapp population, and the round-ups in autumn are a dramatic spectacle.

Wikipedia on wildlife of Finland

There are at least sixty native mammal species, 248 breeding bird species, over seventy fish species and eleven reptile and frog species present today, many migrating from neighboring countries thousands of years ago.

Large mammals found in Finland include the brown bear (the national animal), grey wolf, elk (moose) and reindeer. Other common mammals include the red fox, red squirrel, and mountain hare. Some rare and exotic species include the flying squirrel, golden eagle, Saimaa ringed seal and Arctic fox. Two of the more striking birds are the Whooper Swan, the national bird of Finland, and the Capercaillie, a large, black-plumaged member of the grouse family. The latter is considered an indicator of old-growth forest connectivity, and has been declining due to landscape fragmentation. The most common breeding birds are the willow warbler, chaffinch and redwing. Of some seventy species of freshwater fish, the northern pike, perch and others are plentiful. Atlantic salmon remains the favorite of fly rod enthusiasts.

The endangered Saimaa ringed seal, one of only three lake seal species in the world, exists only in the Saimaa lake system of southeastern Finland, down to only 300 seals today. It has become the emblem of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Due to extensive hunting, animals such as deer, Golden eagle, Brown bear and Eurasian lynx all experienced significant declines in population. Their numbers have increased again in the 2000s, mainly as a result of careful conservation and the establishment of vast national parks.

Photo essays on Finland from Wild Europe

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