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Found 8 results

  1. Own of my travel agent (Nickadventure) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, just posted on his Facebook page comments from locals about a jaguar poaching increase, especially in Northern Bolivia, corresponding to the Beni Wetlands and Amazonian Forest, south to Tambopata reserve in Peru. I will quote his comments here: Note for those interested to discover wild Bolivia. The place I have seen a jaguar in Madidi (with another local agent) is the same Nick use to go. Nicks offers fantastic tour in the Bolivian Chaco, and reached really good results in tapirs and jaguars observations. Let's hope tourism will develop in there, I greatly admire Nick perseverance. If Kaa Iya is rather an expedition compared to Pantanal confortable lodges in Tres Irmaos region, Nick uses camera traps during the trip to show his tourists the most secretive wildlife he cannot guarantee to his clients, which I really appreciate. I really expect to visit KINP one day with Nick, as well as other new destinations I discovered a couple of year before: Reserva Barba Azul (Beni) to see the once thought extinct endemic macaw, Red front macaw in the upper dry valleys. He also offers tour in Noel Kempff, Pantanal and seems to have a new tour to see the andean cock of the rock...
  2. In May this year, I took a magical two week cruise in the Galapagos Islands, one of my two favorite holidays I have ever done so far. I loved every second of the trip and did not want to leave - what could be a better reason for writing a trip report and sharing my experiences with you? Imagine snorkelling with lots of turtles in a completely tranquil "amphitheater", diving with playful sea lions, seeing sharks and rays up close, witnessing courtship of albatrosses and blue footed boobies, watching all kinds of animals from close by and just forgetting time, walking through amazing scenery, great conversations with fellow passengers & crew, Pisco Sours on the deck while looking out for whales & dolphins,... A few photos to wet your appetite:
  3. There are five species of tapir around the world one in South East Asia and four in the Americas, since I’ve been lucky enough to have seen three of them I thought I’d start a tapir thread. So if you have any photos or videos of any of the following species please add them to this thread. Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) Is the largest and perhaps oddest looking species with its distinctive black & white colouration, this rainforest species is distributed along the Tenasserim Mts. from the borders of south eastern Burma and south west Thailand south along the Malay Peninsula and on the neighbouring island of Sumatra in Indonesia. There are no confirmed records from elsewhere in the region, it’s sometimes suggested that this species once occurred in Cambodia, southern Laos and southern Vietnam and is now extinct there; however the forests where tapirs were reputed to occur are too dry to support this species. They’ve never been reported from the wetter forests of the Annamite Mts. on the Laos/Vietnam border where tapirs could survive so it’s likely that the species was never found in any of these countries in recent historical times. Range map Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) This species is the largest of the American tapirs and the largest native mammal in Central America where it is distributed from southern Mexico south to the far North West of Colombia west of the Andes in South America. Range map Mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) This small species also known as the woolly or Andean Tapir is found in cloud forests between 2000 and 4000 metres, alpine meadows and páramo grassland in the northern Andes in Colombia, Ecuador and a very small area of northern Peru. It has disappeared from the north of Colombia and may once have occurred over the border in western Venezuela but if it did it’s extinct there now. Range map Lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) Also known as the Brazilian tapir this species is found throughout lowland tropical South America east of the Andes Range map Kabomani tapir (Tapirus kabomani) This the smallest of the five species is also known as the little black tapir, remarkably this species found in the Amazon in southern Colombia and southwestern Brazil was only recognised in 2013. Despite the fact that native Amerindian peoples in this region have always known that there are two distinct tapir species, not only that but Theodore Roosevelt on one of his hunting trips to Brazil back in 1912 shot one. At the time he believed that the animal he’d shot was different to any of the lowland tapirs that he had previously shot, that the skull in particular was noticeably different and that it was probably a new species as he was aware that the natives recognised two species. However the American Museum of Natural History in New York where this specimen still resides disagreed and decided that Roosevelt’s tapir was just another lowland tapir. Throughout the 20th Century zoologists continued to ignore the views of Amerindian hunters that there were two distinct tapir species in lowland South America. It wasn’t until this century when Brazilian palaeontologist Mario Cozzuol started to really examine tapir skulls that it became apparent that the Amerindians and Roosevelt were right. Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir
  4. After starting a thread on Tapirs I noticed that there wasn’t one for their principal predator in Central and South America the majestic jaguar and thought it was time to start one as there are already threads on most of the other big cats. Sometime ago I did have ago through my jaguar photos comparing their rosette patterns to some of the jaguars in other member’s reports but didn’t find any that matched. Perhaps if enough photos are added to this thread I will have another go and actually find that others who’ve been to Brazil have in fact photographed the same jaguars that I have, or at least that the same jaguars appear in more than one report. If you have any photos or videos of jaguars please add them to this thread. The jaguar (Panthera onca) largest of the New World cats once ranged from Uruguay in the south as far north as the U.S. state of Colorado but past hunting for skins, relentless persecution by livestock farmers and major habitat destruction has severely reduced and fragmented their range. They’re now extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador and although occasional itinerant males have been seen in Arizona jaguars are no longer breeding in the USA. The barriers being put up along the US/Mexican border in the form of walls and fences to keep out two legged immigrants from Central America will obviously also keep out the four legged kind. So even if proper protection allows the population of jaguars in Sonora in the north of Mexico to expand they will not be able to recolonise the US if they can’t cross the border. It’s very unlikely that any attempt will be made to reintroduce jaguars so it will be a long time before they’re back breeding in the US if at all. Interestingly if you zoom in on this Range Map there are several spots shown in Arizona you can also see just how close the most northerly Mexican population is to the border. Here’s a link to the Northern Jaguar Project who are striving to protect these jaguars in Northern Jaguar Reserve in Sonora. Jaguars are generally very elusive animals so throughout most of their range they are very difficult to see, though they are seen reasonably often in the Manu area of Peru, the Iwokrama Forest in Guyana and in the Llanos of Venezuela and very occasionally in parts of Costa Rica like Corcovado NP. There is however one area where you can be reasonably certain of seeing them, the Brazilian Pantanal specifically along the Rio Cuiaba and Rio Paraguai, if you really want to see wild jaguars then this part of Brazil has to be you’re first port of call. My report Brazil, Birds, Beasts and Big Waters along with other Brazil trip reports and the photos in this thread should show just how great this region is for Jaguar sightings.
  5. Brazil Birds, Beasts and Big Waters From watching the incomparable sight of thousands of wildebeest leaping headlong into the Mara River to approaching a majestic bull elephant on foot, from bhundu bashing at speed after wild dogs hunting impala to sitting quietly amidst a family of mountain gorillas, Africa undeniably offers some of the greatest wildlife experiences you can have anywhere. However for me even the finest black-maned lion cannot compare to the beauty and majesty of a wild tiger nor can any wildlife experience on mainland Africa compare to standing in an Asian forest listing to the wonderful duetting song of gibbons. So inevitably at some point the wildlife enthusiast has to venture away from the wild shores of Africa to enjoy some of the amazing wildlife experiences that the rest of the world has to offer. At first thoughts turn perhaps to Asia after experiencing some of the best that this continent has to offer the mind inevitably turns to the Americas and in particular the world’s third largest species of cat. To stand the best chance of tracking down a jaguar there is really only one place to go which is why last October I found myself on a TAM flight to São Paulo in Brazil. Although my primary reason for choosing to go to Brazil was to see jaguars as quite a keen birder it’s hard to ignore the fact that the country has over 1,800 species of birds so seeing a good number of these was another major reason for wanting to go to Brazil. It’s not too surprising there are so many birds given what a huge country Brazil is, though to put things in perspective thanks to the Andes Mountains Ecuador despite being just a fraction of the size has over 1,600 species. Having such a huge list of birds makes Brazil a great country for birdwatching but also a very challenging one certainly for the amateur birder. As is true of most of the rest of South America, to stand any chance of seeing a lot more than just the commonest most conspicuous species you really need to be accompanied by a good bird guide. Unless you’re an exceptional birder and really know your stuff you’ll most likely be lost without a really good bird guide. This is why I opted to do a serious Brazilian birding and jaguar trip with Tropical Birding and then follow that with a brief look at one of the greatest natural wonders in the world Iguaçu Falls. From past experience serious birding trips can be very good for seeing all kinds of interesting mammals as well so I had high hopes of adding quite a few new species after all Brazil has I believe more species of mammal than any other country in the world. Aside from jaguars and other cats I was particularly keen to see giant otters an animal I’d previously only glimpsed once in Ecuador and maybe with luck a giant anteater or two and some armadillos or perhaps a sloth to name just a few.
  6. Searching for a tall leggy Brazilian beauty Wild adventures in Piaui and the Pantanal 20th of August to 3rd of September 2016 Introduction Tall and tan and young and lovely the girl from ... although the thought of sitting in a cafe in Rio drinking coffee or maybe caipirinhas watching beautiful Carioca girls walking down to the beach has some appeal, the girl from Ipanema was not the object of my quest. Instead as I'm sure most will have guessed the Brazilian beauty I was searching for while certainly foxy albeit in a more literal sense has four long legs rather than two. It is commonly known in English as the maned wolf and while not the weirdest of South America’s weird and wonderful creatures it is nonetheless an odd beast. Its name in Guarani is aguará guazú meaning ‘big fox’ this gave rise to its common bilingual Brazilian name Lobo-guara ‘wolf-fox’ but of course it is actually neither. In appearance it does look very fox like but its resemblance is not really to the foxes of South America but to the red fox of Eurasia and North America, in colouration at least. The maned wolf’s most obvious feature is its very long legs it is the world’s tallest wild canine which has led to it being nicknamed ‘a fox on stilts’ this is clearly an adaption to living in grassland. Of course as its name suggests it does have a mane which it can erect when threatened to make itself appear larger. Although referred to as a wolf it is remarkably un-wolf like in its behaviour being solitary and very timid and while clearly a carnivore perhaps more than half of its diet compromises vegetable matter. Especially fruit, its favourite food is the wolf apple Solanum lycocarpum. However it does put its large ears and pointed snout to good use catching rodents and rabbits and other small mammals and will take birds. Primarily it hunts at night and at dawn and dusk resting during the day, this combined with its solitary and timid nature makes it a very difficult animal to see in the wild. Maned wolves occur in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and the far southeast corner of Peru and formerly Uruguay where the species may be extinct. However by far the largest part of its range is in Brazil south of the Amazon Rainforest in the savannahs known as the Cerrado and in the Pantanal. Brazil is therefore the obvious country to visit to go and look for one but on a typical trip certainly if you were just going to the Pantanal you’d have to be extremely lucky to see one. The most you can possibly hope for is to chance upon one and catch a glimpse of it as it runs away. One place where you do have a very good chance of seeing one is Emas National Park in Goias and Matto Grosso do Sul. The habitat in this park is predominantly open grassland so if one is out and about you have reasonable chance of spotting it. However you still need a lot of luck, to be almost certain of seeing one you have to go to somewhere where wolves have been habituated. For some years most tourists have visited the Monastery at Serra da Canastra where the monks put out scraps of meat every night to feed the wolves. This was regarded as the best place to see maned wolves but apparently they no longer come quite so often after it was decided to put radio collars on them, (I don’t know for absolutely certain that this is true). In the last few years another site with habituated wolves has emerged in the recently created Parnaiba Headwaters National Park which straddles the borders of the states of Bahia, Piaui, maranhão and Tocantins. It was to this park and the so called ‘Wolf Camps’ that we decided to go to find our maned wolf. Mainly because In addition to an almost guaranteed view of a wolf, we would also have the chance to view bearded capuchin monkeys cracking palm nuts and get a close up view of some hyacinth macaws. We hoped to see other wildlife as well and also have a bit of an adventure in a part of Brazil that very few other tourists ever visit. From this little known corner of Brazil we would move on to the more familiar territory of the Pantanal in search of more of Brazil’s weird and wonderful wildlife. Not wanting to give too much away I decided not include any photos in this part, to make up for it I thought I would add some music. This version of Brazil’s best known song is by Bebel Gilberto, daughter of the famous João Gilberto who pioneered Bossa Nova music and played guitar and sang on the original recording. One last thing before I start the main report. Since I mentioned caipirinhas at the start, for the benefit of anyone who has not yet visited Brazil, a caipirinha is Brazil’s best known cocktail. It’s classically made with crushed lime, sugar, ice and cachaça a type of rum made from fermented cane juice that is Brazil’s national drink. If you visit Brazil you have to sample a caipirinha or two, it’s a very nice drink, but every mix is slightly different, so if you’re given a jug, it pays to be a little cautious if you don’t want to end up under the table.
  7. This report has been quite a long time in gestation partly because I decided to try and write everything first but perhaps mainly because although I didn’t take half as many photos as I did in Brazil I’ve decided to upload and include far more. In an attempt yet again to go for the record for the most photos in a trip report. Really I’ve just had so much else going on at the moment that I haven’t had time to finish properly editing my photos. I’ve decided if I don’t get on and post this it will be time to start on the next report, mind you it make me quite a long time to complete this as although I’ve more or less written everything I haven’t uploaded all the photos and doing that and then getting the links for all of them will take me some time, time that I don’t really have too much of at the moment. However I’ll try to get the first section posted and post the rest as and when I can. Originally the idea was to do a birding and primate tour of Sierra Leone, the trip was all planned and ready to go however unfortunately the necessary bird guide we needed to lead the tour wasn’t available and there aren’t as yet any Sierra Leonean guides capable of doing the job. Despite this the ground agent in Sierra Leone could still have operated the tour but it would have meant going without a guide, so on balance it seemed better to put Sierra Leone on hold and save the Diana monkeys and white-necked picathartes for another time and come up with a quick plan B. The most obvious choice was Ghana which would give me a good chance to see the white-necked picathartes and good many other West African birds and with luck some western mammals and also there are good Ghanaian guides. However to do a proper Ghana tour would require 3 weeks and on this occasion that was just too long, for various reasons this was going to have to be a 2 week trip. It would have to be somewhere that could be done well enough in that time without having to compromise too much and also because of Sierra Leone not working out it would be a last minute trip so it would need to be somewhere off the beaten track enough to stand a chance of being able to book a worthwhile tour at very short notice. Ideally somewhere new with lots of good birds and other wildlife and that would be a good place to be in late January and given the weather in the U.K. somewhere hot. This narrowed things down quite a bit and after effectively ruling out Africa, Guyana came to mind as somewhere that might just fit the bill almost perfectly.
  8. The "Ghost Cats", as National Geographic titles a recent article about the Puma, one of the most widespread of all the cats, but also one of the most difficult to actually see in the wild. As this same article says later on: "These largely nocturnal cats are so secretive that camera traps are one of the best ways to illuminate their lives". This is about to change, though. I have scouted a place, the best local guides and a way to actually see and approach these gorgeous cats in plain daylight to get photos of a lifetime. If this wasn't enought, this new exclusive tour happens in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Torres del Paine N.P. and surrounding areas in Chilean Patagonia. Our itinerary, unique among all operators, is the first one designed with the main goal of producing great photographs of wild Pumas. This is probably the first ever photo tour for this elusive species, and the actual chances of finding them during the trip are very high. Our very small group will be guided by the absolute best Puma trackers in the region while we explore the amazing scenery of Torres del Paine in search of the ultimate Andean predator. - Only 6 photographers per tour. A small group guarantees quality and flexibility. - The best trackers in the region, with keen eyes for spotting Pumas and deep knowledge of their habits and how to find them. - Very high chances for great encounters. - Every guest, trackers and me will have a personal communication radio, so we have freedom to explore the area without risking missing anything, or to split the group in two to increase our chances. - Gorgeous hotel inside the park, minutes from the best Puma areas. - One morning also photographing beautiful horses running in a nearby estancia. - Non-photographers are also welcomed! Date: March 15 to 22nd of 2015. Fee: US$ 6,899 per person. To know more about this tour please visit my website at or go straight to this PDF for more details. Very limited spots, so if you want to photograph a wild Puma make sure to book early.

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