Wildlife

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Andean condors offer the ultimate in viewings for avid birders and amateurs alike. The massive birds are some of the largest flying creatures in the world, and are a highlight of nature travel through the Andes. A particularly good place to spot these awesome animals is at Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia.

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Panama is full of fascinating sights, both man made and natural. And while exploring the historical and engineering wonders of the canal is a highlight for many first-time visitors to Panama, nature travel enthusiasts will want to check out Soberanía National Park for a different kind of excitement.

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Of the myriad species spotted on Galapagos Islands cruises, most travelers expect to see rare and exotic species of sea turtles. Now it seems that the days when vacationers could see the ancient Pinta tortoise could be numbered, as the species has dwindled down to a single representative.

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Vivid violet fish, round-nosed dolphins and lizards with turquoise spots were some of the 1,060 news species discovered on Papua New Guinea between 1998 and 2008, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

October 11, 2011

Get to Galapagos!

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Dear Traveler,

The Galapagos Islands are truly unique in the world. The opportunity to walk among curious and unafraid wildlife is just extraordinary. I have been fortunate to have been to the Galapagos many times, but the experience of being with wildlife that is so accessible, wildlife that is unafraid and non-threatening, is always joyous and amazing.

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Paddling along the Clarinho River in Brazil's northern Pantanal will offer many fantastic wildlife sightings, but the capybara may be one of the most interesting for those seeking a rich nature travel experience.

Resembling both a guinea pig and a beaver, the 100-pound mammal is the largest rodent in the world. Found in several South American countries, the capybara lives in the dense vegetation that surrounds lakes, rivers, marshes and ponds, which is why visitors to the Pantanal — a spectacular wilderness of wetlands — are likely to see one.

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Just a strip carved out of Senegal, The Gambia may seem like it does not have much to offer. However, for those seeking nature travel experiences in this remote part of Africa, The Gambia hosts some of the continent's finest treasures. In fact, the nation has been dedicated to preserving the natural environment ever since the 1977 Banjul Declaration, which states the country's commitment to conservation.

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The hot, arid bushland that visitors traverse on a Kenya safari is exactly the type of habitat the Beisa oryx likes. Once found all across the drier regions of Africa, about 33,000 oryx are now found in Eastern Africa from Ethiopia to northeastern Uganda and Kenya, 25,000 of which are Beisa oryx.

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The Iwokrama Rainforest is home to many exotic and diverse bird, reptile, amphibian and mammal species. But it also represents one of the few protected forests in the country of Guyana and one of the last pristine tropical forests left in the world.

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The sites of pure biodiversity found in the tropical Bijagós archipelago remain pristine today thanks to the local tribe's history of preservation and respect for nature.

In fact, despite the regional industrial threats, on the majority of the 88 islands — only 23 of which are inhabited — the ethnic Bijagós people have maintained land-based values in their religion.

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