Latin America

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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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Many different species of birds are monogamous — they may change partners over the course of their lives, but they're typically faithful. However, according to a new study by researchers from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and Columbia University, some birds are prone to infidelity and even "divorce." In fact, the scientist observed a connection between instances of birds being unfaithful to one another and severe weather fluctuations.

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On your next Patagonia tour keep an eye out for the rufous-tailed hawk. The birds, which were first discovered by Charles Darwin on his famous voyage aboard the Beagle, have a variety of coloration in their bodies, but they all have rust-colored tails, often with black horizontal stripes. Official estimates place the entire population of this unique bird at less than 1,000.

February 23, 2012

Marshland Birds of the Amazon

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Travelers on Amazon River cruises will see thousands of beautiful colors that make up this neotropic ecozone. While those splendid sights are what many come to experience in South America, the shades of black and white may be just as interesting.

While cruising on smaller excursion boats upriver toward the confluence of the Ucayali and Maronon Rivers, travelers are likely to see black-capped donacobis and white-headed marsh-tyrant.

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Most people tour Patagonia for the stunning hikes and nature travel experiences around the Andes. However, exploring the cultures of the people who have inhabited these rugged peaks for centuries adds a particular sense of beauty and connection to this vast wilderness.

At the extreme southern reaches of South American, people have been building civilizations for centuries. However, it was not until the 16th century that they first made contact with Europeans.

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