Donations for Conservation of Endangered Species in 2018

We are happy to announce that in 2018, a grand total of 23 326,91 Euros was collected from the sales of non-profit merchandise and donations. This is almost double the amount of 2017. Furthermore, donations for conservation of endangered species have increased every year.

Find out in more detail about the money collected here!

Illustrative graph about the donations for conservation of endangered species in 2016-2018.

European mink newsletter 2018

Second European mink newsletter has arrived. It gives an overview what has been done in 2018 for the worlds most critically endangered small carnivore in various European countries (Estonia, France, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Romania).

Check out the newsletter here.

Photo by: Tiit Maran

100 European mink at Tallinn zoo will get a new breeding facility

Tallinn zoo started to build a new breeding facility for the European mink. Currently used mink enclosures were built 20 years ago and needed to be replaced.

The new facility, which is located at a remote area in the zoo, will have five enclosure modules with 20 breeding pens (100 in total). In addition to the main enclosures, there will be four bigger pre-release enclosures at the end of four modules and a maintenance area for the mink keepers in the middle of the facility.

The construction work should end in June 2019.


Construction site of the European mink breeding facility in Tallinn Zoo


Christmas present ideas – charity merchandise from our webshop

Looking for a christmas present? Check out what we sell at our webshop HERE! For example, you can buy cool and practical European mink themed merchandise! All proceeds go to a species protection charity.

Through Lutreola, everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the protection of endangered animals by making a donation or buying our merchandise.

IBAN: EE692200221012181039

Liivalaia 8
15040 Tallinn

Please mention the species whose protection you wish to support in the payment (European mink, rhino, snow leopard, amur leopard or tiger).

Winners of the drawing contest “Estonia’s 100 minks”

Tallinn Zoo’s first European mink drawing contest received 131 pictures from children aged 3 to 14. All drawings were divided into five age groups and the best got awarded. And not only that, the awarded pictures will also be added to a new European mink charity notebooks, which can be purchased from Species Conservation Boutique next year.



3-4 year olds: Roman Alfjorov


5-6 year olds: Emily Gornischeff


7-8 year olds: Eliise Aus


9-10 year olds: Anastassia Pikkov


11-14 year olds: Meeri Liisu Laanekivi


Noted drawings

5-6 year olds: Genrih-Makar Gluškov


7-8 aastased: Mihkel Radala


7-8 year olds: Stella Juur


9-10 year olds: Liisa Orutalu

European Mink Day 2018

This year we celebrated the European Mink Day for the third time in Tallinn Zoo and it was a great success. There were a lot of activities for everyone.

Drawing contest– Since we have about 100 minks at Tallinn Zoo and we also celebrated Estonia’s 100thAnniversary of Independence this year, we decided to name our drawing contest “Estonia’s 100 minks”. We invited schools, kindergartens (children aged 3-18) and also adults to participate. The best pictures will be added to new European mink charity notebooks and can be purchased from Species Conservation Boutique next year.


Drawing and crafts activities for smaller children


Excursions to the European Mink Breeding Center (which is a restricted area, where zoo visitors normally can’t go)


Mink radio tracking– Visitors had to find a mink mascot (who was carrying a mink radio collar) from the zoo territory. After capturing the “mink” they had to check if it had a transponder (which is an indicator that the animal is not wild born) and take all the necessary measurements (from paws, tail, ears etc.) like the conservation scientists do on the field.


Workshop “Who was eaten by the mink?” – Participants had to go through mink feces to find any remains of its food objects (feathers, small mammal bones, fish scales etc.)


Exhibition about European mink ex situ and in situconservation work


Mustelid trivia evening with the focus on e-mink


Lutreola Species Conservation Boutique charity sale (

Toeta ohustatud liikide kaitset!

Liigikaitse kotid

Lendorava kotid


Osta Tallinna loomaaiast vahva kott!

Kõik kottide müügist laekuv tulu läheb vastava liigi kaitsetegevuste toetamiseks.




The litters in 2016

This year, six litters with 33 young minks were born in the Tallinn Zoo as well as two litters with eight young minks in the semi-natural enclosures in Hiiumaa.

Riinu and Donald had the biggest litter (7 kits, 4 males and 3 females, or 4.3 as it is marked in the zoo databases). Young Rapuntsel, who turned 1 year old this spring, had the smallest litter. There are three bright-eyed youngsters wondering the world in her enclosure on the island of Hiiumaa, two males and one female.

The average litter size for European minks in nature is four. Our females usually have more kits with the average litter size this year being 5.1.

For now even the youngest minks (born on May 31st) are going to be 2 months old. European minks start to come out from the nest after their eyes have opened (ca. month old). Presently they are almost the same size as their mother, some male minks are even larger, running around, chasing each other and enjoying splashing in the water.

Häbelik, who was sent to Hiiumaa, didn’t have kits and she was released on June 26. Since July 1st, Nunnu lives in the enclosure with her 4 youngsters and are awaiting release.

On the 12th of July, Rosin along with her three kits, who were born in the wild, were brought to the Tallinn Zoo. She had begun to beg for food and steal from a restaurant as well as teaching this to her young. Restaurant food can also be tasty for minks, but behavior like this is not suitable for proper wild animals. We then had to trap them and bring them to the zoo. Hopefully their descendants can make it without cutlets of organic beef when released.



naaritsapere Hiiumaal

Young European minks, Hiiumaa (by Tiit Maran)



Great news – First wild-born European mink in Steinhuuder Meer (Lower-Saxony, Germany)

ÖSSM_Nachwuchs-Europäischer-Nerzcropped for web

Today a fantastic news was received by the Foundation Lutreola.  The European mink reintroduction project initiated in 2010 in Steinhuuder Meer (in Lower-Saxony, Germany) reached to a very important milestone. A trail-camera image proved the very first breeding of the European mink the wild there. As it can be seen in the photo – female is carrying a pup. This is a fantastic reward for all the hard and dedicated work our collaegues in the Ecological Conservation Station at Steinhuuder Meer have been doing all these years. Foundation Lutreola and Tallinn Zoo congratulate our colleaguase for this success!

The Lower-Saxony and the Steinhuuder Meer Conservaiton Station have very good reasons to be proud of – THEY HAVE DONE IT!!!!

The press release in German can be found here:  2015-Presseinfo Nerz – Fortpflanzungsnachweis

First birth of European mink in Tallinn Zoo breeding facility in 2015

During last night the first birth European mink took place in 2015. The female, Salme, delivered young. We do not know how many, as the female needs to be left fully undisturbed for 10 days minimum. Only after that we can check the number and sex of these new-borns.

This marks the start of the birth-period in this spring. Next birth is expected during coming night.

The mating season 2015 was pretty successful. The planned number of females was mated:

  • 14 females were mated for genetic management of the captive population,
  • four females were mated for release and were housed into the pre-release enclosures in Tallinn Zoo research lab,
  • three females were mated for pre-release enclosures in Hiiumaa Island. These were transported to the island last week.


It seems that we will have interesting mink year.