Significant flying squirrel finds in areas planned for residential construction at Malmi Airport

Seppo SipiläFor the press, News archive

Surveys carried out in the outskirts of Malmi Airport in October have revealed a significant number of flying squirrel nests, droppings and terrain suitable for their habitat. The detection ability of KAER Ltd’s trained dogs is remarkably accurate compared to visual inspection of droppings, as the dogs are able to detect them based by odor. 

In this first canine survey of the area, the northeast and southwest corners of the airport area were examined. Both showed clear signs of flying squirrels and ecosystems suitable for them. The finds in the southwestern region coincide with the so-called Nallenrinne area, where a town plan is currently being formulated. The impact of flying squirrel habitat on Nallenrinne zoning may be significant. 

“The results are a clear indication of the largely unexplored natural values ​​of the area and the need for more detailed research into them,” says Seppo Sipilä, a member of the Board of the Friends of Malmi Airport Association, who has been following the natural values ​​of the area for a long time. “There is still a lot of unexplored area to the northeast and on the west side as well, so the survey work needs to be continued. The survival of the observed hollow trees must be ensured on the basis of the conservation status of flying squirrels.”

Flying squirrel finds have not been taken into account in zoning

City of Helsinki has regularly surveyed flying squirrels in the city. The zoning plans that recently coveted Patterimäki for housing construction were rejected in the administrative court because of flying squirrels found there.

Traces of flying squirrels have been found in the vicinity of Malmi Airport in the past, but this latest, more detailed study shows that the number is much more significant than previous results implied. When preparing the general plan, the survey results of City of Helsinki were disclosed to the councilors only a few days before the City Council meeting at which the plan was approved, and so the territories and routes of flying squirrels have not been properly taken into account in zoning. 

The new survey has also been submitted to the Uusimaa ELY Center for measures.

Results of the survey conducted by KAER Ltd with the help of dogs (in Finnish):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/htbwst9r4nf9edc/liito_2.pdf?dl=1 

City of Helsinki flying squirrel survey 2016 (in Finnish): https://www.hel.fi/static/ymk/julkaisut/julkaisu-07-16.pdf 

City of Helsinki flying squirrel survey 2019 (in Finnish): https://www.hel.fi/static/liitteet/kaupunkiymparisto/julkaisut/julkaisut/julkaisu-21-19.pdf