Wildlife

September 04, 2012

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird

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This poem about the Cuban Emerald Hummingbird was shared by James Blackburn, a guest on our recent People-to-People Cuba trip.

 

The Cuban Emerald Hummingbird
by James Blackburn

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Not far from colonial Trinidad lies the Sierra de Escambray, one of the most mountainous regions in all of Cuba. Housed within this area is the Topes de Collantes National Park, which offers travelers one of the best spots to take in some of Cuba’s endemic wildlife and landscapes. The park offers a little bit of everything, which is perfect when traveling with International Expeditions’ small-groups of both causal nature enthusiasts and avid birders.

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The Galapagos Islands are so isolated that many animals living there have evolved into entirely new species from their mainland counterparts, and the sea lions that make their home on the islands are no different. They are a subspecies of the California sea lion and can often be seen sunning themselves on the island shores in large groups. Nature travel enthusiasts on International Expeditions’ Galapagos Islands cruises will spend seven days in the constant company of these marine mammals as they sunbathe and splash in the cool Pacific waters.

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The animals found in Africa are often unlike any other creatures in the world, and this goes for birds as well as mammals. The grey crowned crane is a shining example of distinct African birds, as its unusual features make it stand out in the African wetlands and the minds of travelers who see and hear the bird in action.

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Every four years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature evaluates the status of animal species and determines if they belong on the Red List of Threatened Species, and the latest list has many conservationists worried. The number of bird species on the Red List jumped from 1,253 to 1,331 and the majority of the newly added species are found in the Amazon, specifically in the Brazilian Amazon Basin where the new Forest Code loosens protections on the Amazon.

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Although the country of Nicaragua may not be as high-profile as its neighbors in Latin America, this land boasts some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet, making it an animal lover's paradise. If you're looking for a country where you can glimpse sea turtles on the beach one minute and spot monkeys in the jungle the next, Nicaragua is the place for you.

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On your next Kenya & Tanzania safari, be sure to carefully scan the surfaces of rivers and lakes for hints of hippos gliding in the depths below. These giants may lumber about a bit clumsily on the land, but once they are in the water they find a natural grace that is best explained by example. Whenever your safari exploration leads you along the river banks in Africa, you should watch for these creatures.

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Most of the time agama lizards are pretty inconspicuous creatures that are brown or gray in color. However, when mating season rolls around, the males turn brilliant shades of red and blue to catch the attention of their female counterparts. This unique quality has earned them many nicknames from “Rainbow Lizards” to “Spiderman Lizards.”

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