Author: Adrian O'Brien

Seven Spectacular Wildlife Encounters

Wildlife is everywhere but often in the more developed, and concreted over world it is harder to discover. However around the world there are plenty of wilderness areas where wild animals are still abundant. East Africa, Svalbard, the Amazon Rainforest, the Jungles of Borneo and many more areas have such a proliferation of wildlife that anybody visiting these areas is bound to bring home a collection of fantastic memories and experiences. Seven of my favourites follow: The Arctic The Pantanal Orangutans in Borneo Gorilla Treking Bears and Salmon in Alaska The Great Migration The Galapagos What these areas all have...

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Lions

The Lion, the King of the Jungle. One of the first things we think of when we think about an African safari is the Lion. In fact on Google the most used animal term in relation to safari searches is the lion. Quite simply no other animal has captured the popular imagination as much as Panthera leo.  Lions are unique among the big cats. They are the only ones to live a communal lifestyle. This apex predators live in family groups, called a pride, which normally comprises a large dominant male, about five grown females and their offspring. The numbers vary from pride...

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Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are our closest relatives on the evolutionary tree. They are amazingly similar to humans in many ways and seeing them in the wild is an event you will never forget. There are different subspecies of chimp but the Eastern Chimp that resides through Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania is the one you are most likely to encounter. Travel to the Congo is not recommended and it is more difficult to see them in West Africa. The similarities of chimpanzees to humans was brought to our attention by Jane Goodall who studied numerous groups of them at Gombe Stream National Park...

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Bears

There are many bears around the world. Most live in the Northern hemisphere. When we think of bears we generally think of brown or black bears and polar bears. Pandas come next but there are a few other species that are bears as well. In South-East Asia there is the Sun-bear that lives in the tropical forests. In South Asia there is the Sloth Bear which is not related to the Sloths of South America but to the brown bear. They are insectivores mostly and live in the forests of Indian, Nepal and Sri Lanka. China is of course...

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Rhinos

The rarest and the most endangered of the big five animals the rhinoceros comes in five different species. Two of these are African and the other three Asian. They have either two or one horns which are prized in East Asian magic and has led to the animals becoming severely poached. Seeing a Rhino in the wild is a great experience and even more so now that there are very few left. There are about 20,000 white rhinos in Africa and less than 100 Javan rhinoceros. You are most likely to see them in Southern Africa but sightings of the Indian one-horned rhino are common in Chitwan National Park in Nepal and East African Parks still have viable though small populations. Africa In Africa there are two species of rhino, the black and the white. They are not distinguished by their color. The term ‘white’ is often taken to mean wide from the Afrikaans/Dutch word ‘wyd’. This was in reference to the animals mouth which is wide as used for grazing, that is eating grass. The black rhino, though not really and darker than its cousin, is a browser. That is it eats leaves and shoots from plants and has a correspondingly narrower snout and lips. The Southern White Rhino is the most abundant and is seen easily around southern Africa in parks like Kruger NP. The Northern subspecies  on the...

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Leopards

Leopard, the elusive cat. Leopards are by their nature a mysterious animal. The live solitary lives and are for the most part nocturnal, hunting by night and sleeping by day. Due to this it is quite difficult to see leopards while on an African Safari. However certain places such as the Kruger in South Africa are known for their leopard populations. The best way to see one is by keeping an out out in the trees. Often during the day a leopard will head up into the branches for some sleep and as a place to be safe from scavengers...

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African Elephant

The African Elephant, Loxodonta africana. The African elephant is a bit larger than its Asian cousin and much much larger than any other land animal alive today. One of the Big Five it can be up to four metres tall and weigh up to ten tonnes but a more normal size is a still impressive three metres at the shoulder and six tonnes for a male. Females are generally a little smaller. In comparison hippos are about 1.5 m and 2.5 tonnes. The African elephant is comfortably the largest land animal in the world. Elephants have a rigid societal structure organised...

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