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Estonian Fund For Nature (ELF) has launched a donation campaign to protect Flying Squirrel

With the help of the donated money ELF will continue its research on this species particularly in forest near to areas where the species is already known. In recent decades intensive woodcutting has decreased the number of old forests and particularly old hollow aspen forests that are suitable for flying squirrels and research is needed to protect these rare animals. As Flying Squirrels are so secretive, their nesting trees and habitats can be damaged by woodcutter out of ignorance. Research helps foresters to avoid accidental killing of animals or damage of habitats as areas can be left out from woodcutting plans. Giving protective status to these areas will secure the right type of forest for Flying Squirrels.

Flying Squirrel expert Uudo Timm: "This year's monitoring data indicates that population of Flying Squirrels are still in poor condition and the number of species habitat is decreasing in Estonia. In Alutaguse region, which is Estonia's most important area of Flying Squirrels, the appropriate type of old hollow aspen forests are decreasing. Young Flying Squirrels who need to spread far from the place of birth, it is very difficult to find a safe residence, as woodcutting and related storm damage is a result of many habitats are isolated from each other. "

Flying Squirrels who live in small groups and in isolation, there are no possibility for them to spread to other suitable habitats. This kind of fragmentation of old forests can lead to decline of Flying Squirrels and their repopulation will be difficult or even impossible. We have to pay greater attention to conservation and recoverment of the forests Flqying Squirrel is living in to avoid fragmentation of the range of Flying Squirrels.

Highly endangered Flying Squirrel is ELF's heraldic animal. Protecting the Flying Squirrels is also associated with old forests and precious habitats.

Liis Kuresoo from ELF forest programs: "The year 2011 is the launched by United Nations as an international year of the forest. We hope that there will be increasing interest in protection of Estonian forests. In addition to Flying Squirrel there are other endangered species living in old hollow aspen forests, to whom woodcutting means a loss of habitat. If you protect the habitats of Flying Squirrels, it also improves the wellbeing the other species in old forests.“

The flying squirrel is a bit smaller than the ordinary squirrel and unlike other squirrels is nocturnal. It has received its name from hairy folds of skin between its fore and hind legs which help it to make jumps up to 35 metres from one tree to another. The flying squirrel is the pride of Estonian forests – in Europe they can only be found in Estonia and Finland.

More info:

For every person joining us on our Mammal Watching tour we will make a donation of 15 Euros to this project as we feel it is extremely important to the future of this delightful animal...

To people who are intrested in Flying Squirrel, Estonian Nature Tours is organizing Flying Squirrel Study Tour. Upcoming trips 2011: 18th June, 9th July, 30th. More info

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