Villu Soon

Zoological collections

Zooloogilised kogud

Zoological collections aim to collect and preserve specimens of the world's animal species for research and teaching purposes. The zoological collections, which began in 1802, are the oldest and most valuable in Estonia.

The zoological collections include over 640 000 specimens of vertebrate and invertebrate animals. For example, we preserve Buturlin's collection of bird skins, Koch's collection of bird eggs and Rosenberg's collection of bones. The most valuable part of the collection is made up of more than 500 type specimens, most of which have been described by H. Remm.

Zooloogilised kogud

The zoological collections are used in the daily work of scientists from Estonia and abroad, as well as by students in their studies. Visitors can see some of our collections at the permanent exhibition "Earth. Life. Story".


The zoological collections of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden are open for research to qualified specialists and postgraduate students on the recommendation of a supervisor.

The collections can be used on site and on loan for up to one year, after which the material must be returned or the loan agreement renewed. The collections may be used for educational and leisure activities and exhibitions, subject to restrictions to ensure the preservation and security of the specimens, which are decided on a case-by-case basis by the curators working on the collections.

If you wish to work with the collections or borrow museum objects, please follow the general guidelines working with zoological collections to ensure the preservation of deposited materials for future research.

The database of zoological collections comprises data of specimens preserved in the insect collection of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (IZBE), in the zoological collection of the Estonian Museum of Natural History (TAMZ) and in the zoological collection of the Natural History Museum of the University of Tartu (TUZ), people from all these three institutions have participated in its development.

Presently, the database holds records of 837 783 specimens, including:

  • IZBE: 327 955 specimens
  • TAMZ: 153 422 specimens
  • TUZ: 356 359 specimens
  • 47 specimens in private collections (RR, TT, AA).

Research fellow of zoology Villu Soon,
Zoosystematics Specialist Mati Martin,

Curator of Zoological Collections Andrei Miljutin,

Chief Specialist Margus Ots,

Specialist Peeter Tarlap,

Zoosystematics Specialist Tarmo Timm,

Information about zoological collections in Estonian Research Portal

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The University of Tartu Botanical Garden's 220-year history unfolds at the "Green Treasury" exhibition