Siberian flying squirrel, Source: Tokumi, Free Use on Wikimedia Commons

Finnish development projects have to consider flying squirrels

Finnish development projects have to consider flying squirrels

This unusual animal is protected by EU law

The Siberian flying squirrel is the only flying squirrel found in Europe and only two EU countries – Finland and Estonia – have native populations of it. This cute rodent enjoys a protected status under EU legislation, which means that its habitat cannot be unduly disturbed.

This has translated into curious cases of delays or cancellations of entire construction projects in Finland, the latest of which, concerning industrial development in the coastal city of Pori, might have to take a break simply because some flying squirrel droppings were found in the same terrain.

The importance of flying squirrel poop

What this means is that the city administration of the Finnish town has had to issue a tender for an environmental consultancy, which will procure a month-long survey complete with field mapping, eight hours of preparatory work, 40 hours of reporting and 20 hours of meetings.

The survey will be made in the Yyterinniemi peninsula near Pori, which is developing into a port and industrial site while also trying to maintain its natural heritage according to regulation plans.

Environmentally suitable breeding sites will be identified with particular attention. Any trees under which droppings have been found will be recorded. The aim is to avoid destroying habitats which are favoured by the tree-inhabiting animal.

Abd this development isn’t the only to have been affected by the Siberian flying squirrel in Finland. Four years ago, the construction of the inter-city tram line connecting Helsinki and Espoo was suspended also due to concerns that it might destroy the animal’s habitat.

Both cities have also had to adapt to take into account the needs of the tree rodents when it comes to their own zoning regulations. Espoo had equipped ten flying squirrels with radio collars in order to study their movements better.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU