Wildlife

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Far beyond the city limits of sparkling Rio de Janeiro lie some of Brazil's most spectacular gems for those seeking genuine nature travel. The striking yellow breast and beak of the saffron toucanet is one such wonder, and can be found in Iguazu National Park (pictured) on a Pantanal expedition.

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Birders have long explored the Amazon River and its tributaries, as theses waterways are home to a diverse collection of avian species, many of which are rarely glimpsed outside of the region.

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The Sambas stream toad, also known as the Bornean rainbow toad, as spent years on the Conservation International list of “Most Wanted Lost Frogs,” and many feared this colorful species was extinct. In fact, it had been so long since scientists had spotted these spindly legged creatures — 1924 was the last known sighting — that only illustrations of the toads existed. That was until June 13, 2011, when scientists spotted three Bornean rainbow toads on a night search in the remote Sarawak region.

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Once thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard, the giraffe is now a commonly recognized animal in its own right. However, spotting one on a Kenya and Tanzania safari is still a treat for nature enthusiasts.

The giraffe is the tallest living animal, measuring as high as 20 feet. Their long necks allow them to reach into trees to maintain their herbivorous diet, and their legs — usually measuring about six feet high — allow them to run at speeds of 35 miles per hour at a gallop.

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Camouflaged and immense, Komodo dragons will eat almost anything, including the deer, pigs and smaller lizards found on their native islands. In rare instances, these ancient dragons have even eaten humans, according to National Geographic. Their massive 300-pound scaly, muscular bodies are an exciting aspect of nature travel to Komodo National Park during International Expeditions’ new Bali to Komodo expedition cruise.

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Nature travel in Tanzania offers hundreds of opportunities to see animals that most have only gotten to know through textbooks and magazines. In the Ngorongoro Crater, visitors will have the best chance on a Kenya and Tanzania safari to spot a black rhino, a critically endangered species.

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While Genovesa Island can overwhelm Galapagos Islands cruise guests with myriad opportunities to see spectacular wildlife, one underrated bird to look out for is the Galapagos dove.

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Travelers with a passion for primates will find a wealth of these creatures in the Amazon River basin. Although the vast biodiversity of the region means that there are countless locations in which to spy these mammals, there may be no better destination to get up and close with these distant ancestors of man than the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in northern Peru.

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When booking a Kenya and Tanzania safari, most travelers will likely expect to spend a good deal of time exploring the majestic animals that populate Serengeti National Park. While more prominent animals like lions and elephants may be bigger draws, there are hundreds of lesser-known species populating the region that can be just as compelling. Animal lovers will delight in studying peaceful herbivorous creatures like antelope, including native topi, while exploring the Serengeti.

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There is no shortage of amazing attractions on a Kenya and Tanzania safari, yet few capture the might and majesty of the natural world quite as soundly as the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania.

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