Protection status in Estonia (and how to add it)


Estonia has two bits of legislation specifying the protection status of species in the country (which I just discovered by chance after taking a picture of one of the lowly-protected birds, Dendrocopos medius). There are apparently three tiers. Tiers I and II are defined by this law while the tier III list is here.

This seems like interesting information to store, specially because apparently (loose translation from the Estonian Wikipedia), any species in tier I has specific limitations that seem relevant to iNat: “permission must be sought for recording animal calls and filming and photographing mating and nesting sites”, and “it’s forbidden to openly publish the exact breeding or living location of the species in the media” (which I guess iNat kinda-sorta counts as). As such, any of these should be obscured by default - I imagine most are because of them probably also being endangered worldwide, but :)

Is this a thing that can be added at all? I didn’t find a way to mark a species as being in a list like this, so I assume it needs to be done by either one of these magical curator people or a member of staff? (I’m thinking of just adding the data right now, not any extra obscuring which I assume would need dev time). The list is small enough it could be added by hand, if possible at all.


You are correct, that only curators can add this information. In doing so, they can set the species so that the sightings are obscured (with a minor caveat that users can give permission to selected persons to see the actual location, which I’m guessing is still a violation of the law in question).

Is there a specific name to this law that can be used as the citation/reason, or an Estonian national red list, as the species need to be defined as Near Threatened, Endangered etc.


There’s a Red List, apparently, yes, but I could only find the 2008 version. A new one should have been compiled in 2018, but I haven’t found it yet.

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Just as a note, several other northern European nations have similar laws where it is illegal to disclose locations of sensitive or specified species. From memory without looking it up, I believe Norway and Iceland have similar laws.

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@reosarevok - are you based in Estonia ?

I’ve started the process of entering the various conservation statuses for the species in the Estonian Red List, it won’t be fast though as each one has to be done by hand, and there are hundreds.

By default. I’m obscuring everything that has a status, but this is not really best or accepted iNat practice. The preferred practice is to obscure things that are listed, and face a threat from their locations being available.

I’m familiar with most of the flora and fauna of Estonia having lived at the opposite end of the Baltic in Denmark for years, but I lack the local knowledge of the situation in Estonia. Some of these things (not the listed species you highlight above), really don’t need obscuring. But I’m not qualified to judge which.

Is this something that the Estonian iNat community can take on?

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I don’t think there’s much of such a thing at the moment (and I’m based in Estonia but I’m nowhere near an expert on any of this). It might be fine to not obscure anything (more than it would usually be obscured anyway) that isn’t in the category 1 in, at least at first.

For the ones on that list, I will start with an indication like you see here:

Go to the Status tab.

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That seems great, thanks! (Categpry -> Category though ;) ).

I guess starting with CR / Category 1 seems like a more than reasonable first step, if the entering is by hand, since that’s the most relevant bit (legally as well).

Thanks so much again! :heart_eyes:

I’ve done the Category I Ferns, Angiosperms and Bryophytes. That’s all I have time to do today as I need to head to work shortly. I will try and do the fungi, vertebrates and lichens tomorrow.

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OK, all the Category I species are entered, and set to be obscured to follow Estonian law.

I will gradually work on adding the remaining status entries for the non Tier I species into the database. I think the general approach I will take is anything listed as regionally extinct or critically endangered I will obscure. If the local Estonian community wishes to discuss or change these, I certainly won’t object, but if that endangered, I feel caution is a better approach.


If we start having a proper community, we can talk about it, but your approach seems sensible to me at least :)

All the extinct in the wild entries, with the exception of a few really obscure lichens and lichen subspecies which are not even in the iNat database are entered. I will start work on the critically endangered ones next.

As an aside, how exactly does one determine a lichen is extinct in a nation? Search every exposed rock in the whole country?


@jurga_li, I bet you know this one!

The critically endangered ones will be done by tomorrow, it is about half way done now, and the weather is supposed to be pretty miserable tomorrow, so I doubt I will be going out exploring.

One entry in the database makes no sense, they list Bufo viridis as critically endangered in Estonia, that makes no sense, that is (a synonym) for an Arabian species, its range comes nowhere close to Estonia. I suspect that may actually supposed to be Bufotes viridis, which is of course European and has Estonia as its range limit. I’ve entered it under that species, but if there is a contact point on that page, you may wish to send them a note about it.

The Estonian Wikipedia has quite a bit on it, and it does use Bufo, but it’s clearly the same animal you marked (the English Wikipedia does list both as synonyms). Apparently it only survives in one small island in a lake, sad!

The critically endangered ones are done. I’m going to prioritize other things before tackling the less serious statuses, that’s almost 800 entries, which is a lot of work by hand doing them one at a time.

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