Finland Is Officially The Best Country For Wildlife Travel

Finland has been named the best country in the world for wildlife travel by the True Luxury Travel's Global Wildlife Index 2019. The factors that made it win against it's 106 competitors included its "high levels of environmental sustainability, its unique and varied diversity of species, beautiful natural landscapes, and conservation efforts". Honestly, this is no surprise as Finlandis home to a number of animals that I, the author, have never seen in my life (and would love to see). Besides, 69% of the country is forest and the rest is filled with crystal clear lakes and quaint towns. Sounds pretty ideal to me. 

To show you just how diverse Finland's wildlife is, we've included 15 of the coolest animals that call Finland home. If you visit Finland, you're bound to see a few of these creatures. I'd be pretty happy if I saw one, to be honest! 

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  • Saimaa ringed seal

    picture Saimaa ringed seal next to lake
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    Via YLE

    The Saimaa Ringed Seal is the most endangered species of seal in the world. There are less than 400 left, and they can all be found at Lake Saimaa in Finland. They are intelligent creatures with unique patterns on their fur, and they're pretty frikken adorable. 

  • Eurasian brown bear

    mother Eurasian brown bear with two baby bears playing in forest
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    The Eurasian brown bear can be found across Eurasia, and is the most common subspecies of the brown bear. They generally stay away from humans, but human development can often change the bears habitats, forcing them in close contact with humans (there was even one bear who stole and drank all the beer from a picnic).

  • Grey wolf

    picture grey wolf standing among snowy trees
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    Via Wolf Army

    Grey wolves in Finland are nocturnal, solitary hunters that generally keep away from humans. However, like the brown bear, close proximity has forced them to come into contact with humans. They primary feed on deer and moose, although occasionally they will feed on cattle animals. In 2016 the grey wolf became a protected species after excessive hunting led to near extinction of the species.

  • Reindeer

    two grey reindeer with long antlers walking across orange grass
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    Reindeer in Finland are a semi-domesticated animal that are an icon of Finnish Lapland (the northern area of Finland). They are also, of course, well known as the preferred animal of Santa Claus. Reindeer sleigh rides are a good way to spend time in close proximity with the animals.

  • Golden eagle

    a golden eagle soaring in front of snowy trees
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    The golden eagle is a magestic bird of prey found in the northern part of Finland, although during winter they migrate to the south. With a wingspan of 74-88 inches, golden eagles prey on foxes and even larger animals like reindeer and moose. There are only around 350 pairs of golden eagles left in Finland. 

  • Lemming

    a lemming among plants
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    The Norweigan lemming is endemic to Finland, and live curious lives. Eating mostly grass and moss, the lemming is active during day and night. But most interestingly, they experience a three to four year population cycle, when the species population periodically rises to such an unsustainable level that a large percantage of the population dies, leading to the beginnning of the cycle again. Adult lemmings grow to 155 cm and they strongly resemble guinea pigs.

  • Arctic fox

    a white arctic fox sitting in the forest
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    Via Animalia

    The Arctic fox is native to Artic regions in the Northern Hemisphere, including Finland. The small fox has the warmest fur of any animal, and they don't start to shiver until -94 °F. They feed mostly on rodents and their abundance tends to fluctuate along with the lemming population.

  • Raccoon dog

    picture of a raccoon dog on a rock next to a river

    The raccoon dog, also known as the tanuki in Japan, is indigenous to East Asia. They were introduced to many states of the Soviet union between the 1920s and 1950s for their fur, and since then have been an invasive and destructive species. Nevertheless, they are still very cute.

  • Snowy owl

    snowy owl yawning with sun behind it sitting on snow
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    Via RCI Net

    Yes, it's the same breed as Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl. The snowy owl is the rarest breed of owl in Finland. Although they often perch on barn roofs in farms and are possible to photograph, they are elusive and hard to spot in the snow!

  • Black woodpecker

    picture of a Black woodpecker with red stripe on head standing on tree trunk
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    The black woodpecker can be found across the Palearctic region, and is one of the largest woodpecker species. They live almost exclusively in woodland areas, and can be heard by the distinctive sound of knocking on dead trees as they search for grubs and insects to eat. 

  • Wolverine

    picture of a wolverine in a forest
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    The wolverine (not Hugh Jackman) is a solitary and fierce animal that is known for killing prey much larger than itself. They are not related to wolves, and wolves are actually their biggest threat. Wolverines live in alpine regions and are not difficult to spot, although they tend to keep their distance from humans.

  • Whooper swan

    whooping swan standing on frozen lake
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    Via PInterest

    The Whooper swan is among the heaviest of flying birds and have a deep honking call. They breed for life and live throughout Finland, and they're not hard to find.

  • Lynx

    a lynx standing in the forest
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    Lynx are unique in their appearance, with a short tail, thick paws and pointed ears. It is the only wild feline species in Finland, and as they are stealthy night hunters, they are rarely seen by humans. Don't lose hope, though - you might be the person they decide to show themselves to!

  • Ermine

    a white ermine on a rock in the forest
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    Via Pinterest

    The ermine is part of the weasel family, and it's name also refers to it's white coat (which was once coveted by royalty in Europe). They're usually from 5 to 12 inches in length and weigh less than 0.7 pounds. They feed on small mammals, birds and frogs, and their fur changes color according to the seasons.

  • Elk

    a moose with big antlers resting on wildflower grass
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    Via Mr Nordic

    The elk is the largest and heaviest of the deer family. Male elk have broad antlers shaped like open hands, while the females are without antlers. Elk are solitary animals and mostly feed on vegetation. Despite their large sizes (4.6–6.9 feet at the shoulder), their predators are the grey wolf and bears. They're not hard to find, especially in areas surrounded by forests.

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