Wildlife

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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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Low-level fires are a natural but infrequent occurrence in rainforests, but due to industrialization, logging and other deforestation, the severity of forest fires is increasing. This may pose a serious threat to the plants and animals of these regions, and many scientists are concerned for the future of the Amazonian rainforest. The impact of forest fires on local bird populations in Brazil was the focus of a recent study conducted by researchers from the U.K. and Brazil.

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Superb starlings are some of the most colorful birds endemic to northeast Africa, but you will likely hear these birds long before you can spot them in the bushes of the Serengeti. The songbirds are very vocal and have a variety of different calls they use to communicate with one another. They likely need to be so loud to be heard above the group, as the starlings live in large flocks that can number well into the thousands.

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The Galapagos Islands are legendary for their population of curious, approachable wildlife, and South Plaza island — one of the smallest in the chain — is a great place to see many of the Galapagos' endemic creatures.

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Lonesome George, the giant tortoise that became perhaps the best-known resident of Galapagos Islands passed away this past Sunday in his pen at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Scientists estimate that he was around 100 years old.

According to Galapagos National Park officials, Fausto Llerena, George’s keeper for 40 years, found him dead in his corral. With George’s passing, the Pinta Island subspecies of giant tortoise is now considered extinct.

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The wilderness and wildlife of Latin America are attractions in and of themselves. The animals you dream about seeing as a kid, but can often only see in a zoo, are viewable in their natural habitat in Latin America.

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