Environmental Board: Raccoon, North American beaver to be removed from wild

According to the recent directive of the Environmental Board, non-indigenous species, such as the white-tailed deer, the mouflon, the North American beaver, the nutria and the raccoon, must be removed from the wild.

Findings of non-indigenous species have become more frequent in Estonia. To tackle this, hunters for example received licences to hunt sika deer and fallow deer in 2015.

Raccoon and nutria, the large, herbivorous, semiaquatic rodent are prohibited species under the EU law, but they can live in Estonia in closed cages. Sometimes, the animals might escape and make it to Estonia. A nutria was spotted moving around Tartu County last year, raccoons have freely moved around Tallinn's Kalamaja district and Rõhu settlement in the recent past.

According to Environmental Board chief specialist of hunting Margo Tannik, the species in question could endanger indigenous species and also be the cause of many problems for humans.

"If the population of nutria reaches a high level, it creates numerous burrow systems, carving away the banks of water bodies. Raccoon invades residential buildings and disturbs living with its activities," he said.

White-tailed deer, most likely originating from the deer farms of Latvia and Lithuania, have made it to Estonia. According to Tannik it is likely that mouflon, a species of wild sheep, will also make its way to Estonia from neighbouring countries in the near future.

Tannik said that hunters now have permission to hunt all aforementioned non-invasive species.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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