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A guest on our recent People-to-People Cuba program wrote a dozen poems about his experience and graciously agreed to share them—all are accounts of Cuba seen through the eyes of birds. James Blackburn's poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban trogon, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the smooth-billed ani.

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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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While planning your summer vacation, you have probably put some thought into what to pack. While you are stuffing suitcases, now may also be a good time to purge – your wallet, that is. Open up your wallet right now and you may be surprised when you realize you carry a window to your entire life – credit cards, store cards, old receipts, extra house keys, family photos. Our friends at Medjet have put together this great list of items that should be in your wallet.

What you should carry:

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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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When you consider some of Latin America's greatest landmarks, it's no surprise that it's such a playground for the adventure seeker. Arenal Volcano, Machu Picchu, Iguazu Falls and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef are just a few of the most notable landmarks.

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The passion flower is one of the few hundred endemic plant species of the Galapagos Islands. Passion flowers can be found in South American, but only those growing on the Galapagos are white — others are purple or red. The white flowers that bloom on the islands are the most common variant of the species, which has earned them the title of the official flower of the Galapagos.

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