Latvia is a culturally-rich northeastern European country sandwiched between Sweden and Russia on the Baltic Sea. Latvia is a lush country with verdant forests, farmland and pastures. Approximately 10% of the Latvian landscape is covered in mires that have been untouched by civilization. These mires or bogs provide a safe habitat for many rare birds, plants and animals. According to a 2005 Hospitality Club article, there are more than 27,700 documented species of flora and fauna in Latvia.
Latvia is home to many species of birds considered endangered in the region. These include the black stork, lesser spotted eagle, corncrake and the white-backed woodpecker. The country is a favorite spot of bird watchers who come to see the Ural owl, a variety of warblers, the short-toed eagle, great snipe, sandpipers and parrot crossbill, in addition to endangered species. Swans, ducks and many varieties of waterfowl live near the sea.
A few endangered species of mammals make Latvia their home as well: the Eurasian otter, lynx and wolf. Hunted animals include deer, elk and wild boars. Other wild Latvian mammals include foxes, beavers, seals and rodents such as mice, moles, bats, squirrels and hedgehogs.
More than 3,000 lakes and the lively Daugava and Salaca Rivers make Latvia the perfect environment for fish. More than 30 varieties of typical sea fish are found in the area. An additional 30 species are found in the rivers and fresh water lakes and ponds. Salmon fishing is a popular Latvian sport as well as hauling lampreys.
Latvia's lush forests cover more than 44% of the country's landscape. The Latvian forests contain both coniferous and deciduous trees such as pines, fir trees, oak, linden, aspen, birch, elders and maples. Home to many animals, birds and plants, these forests are a fine destination for hiking, photography and bird-watching expeditions.
The chrysanthemum is the national flower of Latvia, which also boasts a plethora of wild flowers including the pipene, orchid, oleander, jasmine, periwinkle, aster, cornflower and dahlia. Blueberries and cranberries are abundant in the country's many forests and bogs. Ferns, moss and grasses are bountiful.