Latin America

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Many distinct animals make their homes in South America's Andes mountain range, including the brilliantly colored Rupicola peruviana - commonly known as the Andean cock-of-the-rock. And since Peru is home to the most known bird species in the world, the Andean cock-of-the rock had to beat out some impressive species to earn the title of “national bird. ” The main reasons this bird was chosen above the other hundreds of bird species found in Peru are its striking plumage and unique mating rituals.

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Alligators are some of the most dangerous predators in the world, and few are more feared than the black caiman. These semi-aquatic reptiles are the largest alligator species on the planet, and the deadliest killers in the Amazon rainforest. They tend to stick to shallow waters, so your Amazon River cruise guides will be on the look-out for these creatures on skiff excursions through the South American jungles.

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The landscapes of Chilean Patagonia are so impressive and brimming with sights that nature travel enthusiasts can’t absorb everything in just one trip. After you’ve explored the famed glaciers and landscapes of Torres del Paine, adventurers should consider venturing off of the beaten path to the Marble Cathedral near General Carrera glacial lake on the border of Chile and Argentina. The remoteness of this location makes it a bit complicated to reach, but once you get there, you'll be glad you made the effort.

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Tortuguero National Park, one of Costa Rica's most famous wildlife refuges, is best known for the thousands of turtles that flock to the beaches to lay their eggs each summer. However, there are also many other unique species of animals and plants living in the region. Many trails wind their way through the park, and the El Gavilan Trail is just the ticket if you want to catch a glimpse of the park's wildlife and still get a chance to see turtles nesting on the Caribbean shore.

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Blue-footed boobies may be one of the most popular Galapagos Islands birds, but there are plenty of other exotic avian creatures on the archipelago, like the red-footed booby. This bird is the smallest member of the booby family. If you want to see these birds in their natural habitat, you must travel to outlying Genovesa Island, a highly protected island that is home to a large colony of the red-footed boobies can be found.

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20 Years Later: A Photo of Charlie’s Machete

The Amazon Medical Project was founded in 1990 by Dr. Linnea J. Smith, M.D., a former IE Amazon rainforest tour guest. The project supports the Yanamono Medical Clinic, which provides primary care, involving locally trained people and encourages preventative medicine. Below is PART 1 of Linnea’s recent letter to clinic supporters and friends.

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Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, the Oakland Museum and the National Museum of Natural History recently reported the discovery of a previously undocumented shark species swimming around the waters of the Galapagos Islands. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the researchers actually found and collected a number of these sharks back in 1998, but the process of cataloguing a new species is not a quick one, as everything from ensuring it is actually new to naming it can be time-consuming.

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The Amazon rainforests are home to many unique creatures — so many that scientists regularly discover new species. Already this year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced that 365 previously undocumented species have been recorded in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, which encompasses a portion of the Southwest Amazon.

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Researchers are constantly discovering previously unknown species, and sometimes these species have been extinct for millions of years. A team of scientists from the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida recently uncovered and identified two of the oldest species of ancient camels in Panama, Aguascalietia panamaensis and Aguascalietia minuta.

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