Civilization has left about 10 percent of the Latvian landscape alone, and many rare bird and animals have found a home in these mires or bogs. There are more than 3,000 lakes and 30 species of fish swim in the rivers, fresh water lakes and ponds. Sportsmen fish for salmon
and haul lampreys.
Many endangered birds including the black stork
, lesser-spotted eagle
and the white-backed woodpecker thrive in the Latvian environment. Bird watchers come to the region to view the Ural owl
, many warblers, the short-toed eagle, great snipe
, sandpipers, the parrot crossbill
, swans, ducks and many varieties of waterfowl.
Some endangered mammals live in Latvia. These include the Eurasian otter, lynx and wolves. Hunters track deer, elk and wild boars
. Foxes, beavers, seals and rodents including mice, moles, bats, squirrels and hedgehogs also find homes and natural shelter in Latvia.
Frogs, toads and newts join in a springtime chorus in almost every pond. The fire-bellied toad is one of the rarest amphibians found in the southern part of Latvia. Another rare and protected species is the running toad. In the 1990s, the common tree frog was reintroduced to the Latvian habitats. The common newt, great newt, running toad, green toad
, fire-bellied toad, common spadefoot
, common tree frog, the edible frog
, moor frog
, marsh frog, pool frog
and grass frog all receive protection in accordance with the Bern Convention. The Latvian countryside is also home to snakes and lizards.
Many tourists and environmental experts agree that Latvia is one huge nature park because of its white sandy beaches, green forests, and many isolated rivers and lakes. Latvia contains vast forests that alternate with fields, farmsteads and pastures. Birch groves and wooded clusters house many species of animals.