Flying squirrel sitting on a branch
A flying squirrel sitting on a branch. Photo: Ari Seppä / Vastavalo.

The Flying Squirrel LIFE project improves the conservation of flying squirrels in Europe through co-operation. The project brings together key actors in land use, such as land-use planning and forestry, as well as information on the habitat networks of flying squirrels.

In Europe, the flying squirrel is only found in Finland and Estonia. The species is classified as vulnerable within the European Union due to the rapid decline in its population.

Read more about our work in our excellent brochure and watch the video:

The Flying Squirrel LIFE Project Video (

Check out the published project guides on the Guide page

Cover photos of the three guides. The first guide is "In the footsteps of a flying squirrel", and its cover features a cartoon forest showing a flying squirrel, a squirrel, a woodpecker, two butterflies, small birds, and trees. Another guide is "Considering the Flying Squirrel in Urban Planning", and its cover features a photograph of a flying squirrel perched on a branch, with a white building in the background. The third guide is the flying squirrel inventory guide, and in its cover image, a flying squirrel peeks out of the hole.

Habitat networks are key

The biggest threats to the flying squirrel are the reduction and fragmentation of suitable habitats, i.e. breaking down into smaller and separated areas.

Having interconnected habitats is vital to the flying squirrel. Habitats form functional networks, thus allowing the animals to move between suitable habitats. When they are able to move between habitats, flying squirrels can live their lives from generation to generation over extensive areas.

Safeguarding habitat networks is a sustainable way of improving the long-term conservation of flying squirrels. Because this is a major challenge, tackling it will also require a wide range of actors. The Flying Squirrel LIFE project is coordinated by Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland, with 17 partners from Finland and Estonia. The project covers the entire range of flying squirrels in Europe.

We promote the conservation of flying squirrels through four sub-objectives:

  • To prevent and decelerate habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • To increase co-operation among key stakeholders and develop tools for fluent land-use planning.
  • To improve the quality and availability of flying squirrel data.
  • To increase the exchange of knowledge and acceptance of conservation.

The project has approximately 120 areas of activity in total. The budget is EUR 8.9 million, most of which is EU LIFE Nature Programme funding. The project will last approximately 6.5 years (1 August 2018 – 31 March 2025).

Further information

Project Manager Eija Hurme
Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland
tel. +358 (0)206 39 6270

Project Officer Saara Airaksinen
Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland
puh. +358 (0)206 39 6553

Flying Squirrel LIFE project on the European Union website (
Flying squirrel in the Finnish assessment of threatened species, i.e. the Red List (


There are 13 project partners in Finland and 4 in Estonia. Go to the Project partners page.

Photo includes the logos of each project partner (15 logos).

Have a look at a flying squirrel nest through nest cameras!

Is its coat in good shape? Can you see the tail?

The life of the flying squirrel can be followed by watching nest camera recordings. The project has already installed two nest cameras to follow flying squirrel nest boxes. The nest camera maintained by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) was installed at a nest in Paltamo, Kainuu, and another nest box camera was set in a mixed forest in Kuopio, North Savo.

Live broadcasts have ended. The cameras have captured many amazing as well as tragic moments of a flying squirrel’s life, including lots of cubs playing, glimpses of other forest species and a fateful visit to the nest by a pine marten.

The local Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) granted permits for the camera.

The project has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union. The material reflects the views by the authors, and the European Commission or the CINEA is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Last updated 10 October 2022