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The sights along a West Africa cruise are stunning, but it is the famed culture of the region that brings an added sense of richness to expeditions in this remote area.

Along the Niger River are buildings with unique mud architecture, fishing villages and livestock farms. However, it is the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation that add color to these landscapes.

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The Amazon River is home to many different species of animals, including the elusive jaguar, the largest member of the cat family living in the Americas. The species predominantly sticks to the rainforests of Latin America, especially around the Amazon River basin, but they were once found all across South and Central America.

Jaguars are easy to recognize, as they are covered in rose-shaped black spots. However, some may appear to look more like panthers or other big cats if their fur is dark enough to disguise their spots.

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The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are considered to be one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built during the mid-1400s between the reigns of Pachacutec and Tupac, the sprawling city ruins cover more than 125 square miles of the eastern slopes of the Andes mountains — more than 8,200 feet above sea level.

February 08, 2012

Night Visions in the Pantanal

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The flora and fauna of Brazil's Pantanal is enough to fill a day, but the most rare and unique sights may be seen at night.

On a night game drive during nature travel in the Northern Pantanal, travelers on a Pantanal tour may be able to spot elusive mammals such as tapirs and ocelots.

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Tanzania is an ideal destination for animal lovers and nature travel enthusiasts, as there are plenty of wild beasts roaming the lands. If you want to scout out a herd of elephants, International Expeditions’ Kenya and Tanzania Safaris could be just the ticket to making your dream a reality. However, these majestic African creatures are threatened by poachers, and their numbers have been dropping dramatically in recent years.

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While most people on a custom Kenya safari are there for a chance to spot the “Big Five” – lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard – birders are flocking to Kenya’s Lake Nakuru National Park for something a little smaller. The park boasts nearly 500 species of winged wildlife!

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While most wildlife enthusiasts are already familiar with chimpanzees and gorillas, a West Africa cruise along The Gambia allows visitors to become acquainted with a more unique type of primate — red colobus monkeys.

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International Expeditions’ Borneo tour is ideal for those fascinated by the natural world. One of the world's oldest rainforests is located on this Pacific island, and World Wildlife Fund reports that there are at least 100 endemic species of mammals, birds and fish that call Borneo home, including the extremely rare Miller's grizzled langurs.

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One of the best parts about Amazon River cruises is the ability to experience the river while acting as a part of it. Cruising upstream during an Amazon River tour, guests aboard the Aquamarina discover the wealth of wildlife both on and off-shore — like gray and pink river dolphins.

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The western black rhinoceros was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) after it updated its Red List, a comprehensive database of threatened, vulnerable, endangered and extinct species.

The annual update lists more threatened species than ever before, and states that 25 percent of the world's mammals are at risk of extinction. In addition to the Western black rhino, a subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also considered "possibly extinct."

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