Wildlife

The diminutive Cuban pygmy owl lives exclusively on Cuba, but they make their homes in a variety of forest habitats across the Caribbean island. The IUCN Red List classifies this species as one of Least Concern, which means there is a healthy number of these endemic  winged creatures living all over the island of Cuba. So there's a good chance you'll spot at least one of these tiny birds when you join IE’s people-to-people Cuba tour.

There are only an estimated 10,000-25,000 blue whales believed to be still swimming the world's oceans, and lucky guests on International Expeditions Galapagos Islands cruise last week had a memorable encounter with these giant creatures. Blue whales are the largest known animals to have ever lived on Earth, so there was no doubt what they were seeing when guests observed this whale’s huge spout.

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The cheetah is an attractive cat found over much of the savannah regions of Africa but also in some of the desert areas of Africa and the Mideast. The cheetah is the fastest land animal on Earth. To witness their incredible speed during a hunt is a sight to behold and will amaze even the most seasoned scientist, naturalist and guide. 

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The Northern horned screamer is a large bird that doesn’t quite fit in with other species…in fact; there are only three species in their family Anhimidae. Northern horned screamers live in aquatic areas with lots of emergent vegetation and when walking on water lettuce or hyacinth, look like a very large goose.  Their feet, however are not webbed, but they have fairly heavy long toes that support their weight on the floating mats of vegetation. 

June 07, 2013

Island Life: Española

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This week IE’s president Van Perry has been checking-in via satellite phone from his Galapagos Islands cruise. (Be sure to see the highlights here). During the journey, Van learned that Española, the archipelago’s southernmost island, is our naturalist Boli’s favorite island. Here are just a few things you’ll find on Española.

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The white-faced capuchin is a medium sized primate with a white or sometimes yellowish head neck and lower shoulders and a black body and tail. Occasionally, the face may be bright yellow, reddish or any other color depending on the color of the flowers and pollen that the monkey may have been feeding on. 

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Having grandchildren and watching the movie Finding Nemo more times than I have counted, always brings to mind the numerous animated sea turtles riding the Gulf Stream, at a tremendous rate of speed.  In watching this, I can’t help but think of the tremendous distances that some species of sea turtles travel in the course of a year — even more astounding the distance traveled over their life time. 

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It is Endangered Species Day and we’re turning our focus to some of the critically engendered wildlife that you may spot on International Expeditions’ nature-focused journeys. We hope that by seeing wildlife in its precious habitat, you’ll be inspired to protect and improve the world we share.

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The Galapagos fur seal is the smallest fur seal, with six other fur seals in other areas of the world being larger. The scientific name, Arctocephalus, translates to “bear head” as its face and head are small with fairly large ears and a very pointed snout. The Galapagos fur seal has very large eyes which aid in their foraging strategies of being nocturnal. Through long term studies, it appears that fur seals prefer small moon phases for feeding at sea and during full or big moon nights, the fur seals remain ashore. This may be a self-preservation tactic.

May 06, 2013

Beware of the Boto?

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The enigmatic pink river dolphin, aka Boto, of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers is an aquatic creature that many guests to the region can’t wait to observe. Most guests on IE’s Amazon River cruises do not come away disappointed as these lovely creatures are fairly abundant in many areas of the Peruvian Amazon.

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