True Lithuania

Wild animals in Lithuania

Lithuania may be no Africa, and there are no possibilities for hourly sightings of large wild animals. Indeed, you may drive around and not see one in a week. However, Lithuania's dark forests are teeming with wildlife more than for a long time. The populations have rebounded as the hunting became more restricted and urbanization allowed replanting forests (forests already tripled in size since their lows).

Therefore, wild animal sightings in Lithuania are quite frequent for Europe.

Currently, Lithuania has approximately 250 000 larger wild animals or 5 per each square kilometer.

The most prolific large wild animal in every part of Lithuania is the roe deer, with 120 000 of them. They are followed by boars (55 000). Other ungulates are the deer (~22 000), fallow-deer (~21 000) and the largest one: moose (~7 000).

Among the Lithuanian predators, foxes are the most common (~27 000). Wolves are, however, more ingrained into the mythology, but urban Lithuanians may spend lifetimes without seeing one as there are just 800 in Lithuania. Even rarer are the lynxes (~200).

The large animals mentioned above exclude the rabbit, ~200 000 of which may live in the Lithuanian forests.

While the Lithuanian nature may be rebounding after a long time of abuse, some of the species became extinct in Lithuania, such as the auroch (extinct worldwide), the beer, and the bison. There are attempts to grow bisons in enclosures, however, and reintroduce them into the wild.

Hunting in Lithuania

Traditionally, hunting in Lithuania has been a popular pastime of the nobility. It was also a favorite pastime of the Soviet leadership and local collaborators during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. Often, drinking alcohol or talking in private and possibly exchanging personal influence had been the real draws of hunting, however.

Western-style animal rights anti-hunting movements are rarer in Lithuania. Yet, with independence, that link between the elite and hunting has been broken for good. While Algirdas Brazauskas, the last chairman of the Communist Party of Lithuania and later the president of Lithuania, was a notable hunter and his trophies are displayed in various museums, almost no modern-era politicians are.

That said, hunting and hunting clubs still exist, now drawing their members from various strata of the society, and increased number of foreigners choose Lithuania for hunting, attracted by lower costs. The hunter clubs are also obliged to care for the animals during the harsh winter by leaving them food. Hunters may hunt in any forest, even the private ones.

Lithuania has numerous hunting trophy museums, the most famous being Tadas Ivanauskas museum in Kaunas. Hunting trophies of local animals are also a common display in the regional museums.

Click to learn more about Lithuania: Beautiful nature No Comments