The wide variety of wildlife in Latvia is a testament to the quality of the environment. Clean waters, forests and meadows form a safe haven for many species endangered elsewhere.
Wildlife in Latvia
Over twenty thousand white storks and at least a thousand black storks nest in Latvia. Folk songs revere the bird as a sacred symbol of fertility and luck.Deer
These noble animals inhabit Latvia for the last eight thousand years. The smaller Roe Deer weights just 40kg, whereas the European Red Deer can grow as heavy as a quarter of a tonne.
Seven hundred lynxes roam the Latvian forests. However, the reddish-brown and ash-grey coloured „big cats” avoid human contact.
Ponds and shallow waters around Latvia are full with frogs, toads and newts. All Latvian amphibian species are protected.
Folklore respects wolves as the messengers of God. A thousand wolves live in Latvia and can be seen by following their tracks or by going to the Līgatne Nature Trails.
Wild plants in Latvia
Lichens indicate a pollution-free air, as they cannot tolerate sulfur dioxide. Some varieties form a white carpet in pine groves.Ferns
The ferns grow in Latvia's forests and on their edges, in shady ravines, on sandstone cliffs, as well as in gardens and parks. Looking for the mythical flower of a fern is central to the most popular holiday Jāņi.
30 varieties of orchids can be found in Latvia's forests and meadows. The most colourful one is called the Lady Slipper.Water Chestnut
The rare plant is rooted at the bottom of a lake while a leafy rosette floats on the water. The leaves are fleecy and delicate like peacock feathers.
Forests, meadows, fields, and even cities in Latvia abound with mushrooms. Latvia is a heaven for any mushroom picker. During the season, many Latvians pick them with a religious zeal!
© The Latvian Institute 2015; Photos © Andris Eglītis, Aleksandrs Kendenkovs, Julija Topnikova, Andrey Salikov, Inga Berziņa, Martin Konopacki