Wildlife

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There are many reasons to travel to the Galapagos Islands, but the diverse, approachable wildlife is one of the most popular reasons for people to visit the archipelago. Besides Charles Darwin's finches, perhaps the most famous inhabitants of the Galapagos are the tortoises — and these islands includes a few famous ones.

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Paradise tanagers are as colorful as parrots and just as plentiful in the Amazon rainforests and throughout northern regions of South America. These small birds are prized by birders, and you can see one of the subspecies on your next Amazon cruise. These creatures travel in mixed-species groups of about five to 20, but rarely remain in one spot for very long.

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The plants and animals found on Galapagos that helped Darwin form his Theory of Evolution are exactly what makes a Galapagos cruise unforgettable. There are many endemic birds on the archipelago, including the Galapagos flycatcher. This small bird is also called the large-billed flycatcher even though its bill is not that big in size compared to the bird itself.

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Everyone knows lions are the kings of the jungle, but their reign is in danger of coming to an end. These majestic cats once roamed all over Eurasia and Africa, but these days their empire has been restricted mainly to sub-Saharan Africa.

The fall of the lion empire

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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