Wildlife

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Red colobus monkeys, native to East Africa, are extremely rare, so travelers going on a Kenya and Tanzania safari should familiarize themselves with the monkeys so they know what to look out for. Most prominently, colobus moneys do not have thumbs like other monkeys, explaining how they got their name which comes from the Greek word for "mutilated." These primates tend to stick to the trees and travel in groups of five to 10, so if you're lucky enough to spot one overhead, watch for more.

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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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The snow leopard is one of the most elusive cats in the world, but camera traps recently managed to capture them on film in the mountains near the India-Pakistan border. The Indian branch of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) set up infrared cameras throughout the remote regions of the Kargil mountains just outside the Kashmir territory, according to The Associated Press. While this area has long been a hot spot for international conflict, it has been home to snow leopards for far longer.

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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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International Expeditions guests Bill and Pam Daws just returned from our February Guyana tour, and were kind enough to share their favorite experiences. Nature travel often brings with it the unexpected, and Mr. and Mrs. Daws share what it is like when tour plans don’t go 100% according to plan.

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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.

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Nature travel is such an exciting venture because you get the chance to see wildlife around the world, and Madagascar may well be the next place you want to visit. You should probably pack a magnifying glass and a flashlight if you want a chance to see the newest discovery on the African island.

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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