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Estonia in winter: into the wilds by canoe and 'bog shoe'

The peatlands of Soomaa national park are host to a stunning variety of birds and beasts - and even the odd white-thighed bog swimmerAhead, the jellied earth sways. As I approach a natural pool at the edge of a wide, wild expanse in central Estonia, the bog feels untrustworthy, if not quite menacing. This far into the Soomaa national park, the ground is so unsure of itself that even trees have given up. My guide, Aivar Ruukel, tells me that it's not the same animals - wolves and bears are among the creatures that patrol these lands, hoping to find a meal trapped in the mire.Elsewhere in this wilderness there are elk and raccoon dogs. Recently, wolverines from the north have been spotted, too. "People have been seeing golden jackals," says Aivar, "and normally they are in Turkey." The reason for this extraordinary menagerie is, perhaps inevitably, linked to Estonia's low human population. Despite being slightly larger than the Netherlands, Estonia has about 7.5% of its population, making it one of the most sparsely populated nations in Europe. In Soomaa, it's easy to believe these stats. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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