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In touch with nature - wild animal encounters

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Seeing wild animals at the zoo is one thing, seeing them in the wild is a whole new experience. These are some of the places where you can get fairly up close and see how much they love their freedom.
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Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The ocean churns as a 36-ton mammal swims up to the boat. With your arm plunged into the cool water, you await the touch of a California gray whale. Like a house cat craving a scratch on the head, the whale pushes its rubbery skin, rough with...
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Latin America
The big winter draw in Baja California Sur is whale watching. Magdalena Bay, with its entrance to the Pacific Ocean, is a favorite for female whales to calve and nurse their babies until they can make the trip north in the spring. Every other year...
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My family and I are big cat lovers. I mean BIG CAT lovers, such as lions, leopards, and especially cheetahs. Our son's 13th birthday was fast approaching and traditionally, kids in our New York neighborhood would celebrate their bar/ bat mitzvahs...
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Tuma-La Dalia, Nicaragua
Unless you rent a car, arriving at La Sombra Ecolodge way up in the mountains of Matagalpa requires a couple of rides in packed chicken buses followed by 45 minutes in a bouncy cab along a semi-paved road. But just look at this little, green guy -...
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In front of Villas del Caribe, Limón Province, Punta Cocles, Costa Rica
I am so thrilled that I was able to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center while I was in Puerto Viejo. This was by far the highlight of my entire trip to Costa Rica. I am a huge animal lover and I'm so proud of the JRC's efforts to help injured animals....
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7 Kms De Puerto Viejo De Sarapiqui (Chilamate, S.), Costa Rica, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
When I first heard that I was accepted to go to Costa Rica, I made it a personal goal to be able to find and touch a poisonous frog. I think these animals are beautiful because of their color and how dangerous they can be. Around our lodge we were...
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La Fortuna - El Castillo, Provincia de Alajuela, Costa Rica
There are no words for the sounds and life of a tropical evening beneath an active volcano. What began as a simple 10 day trip to what's become a popular destination, has turned into a love affair that we find ourselves going back to...and missing...
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Amazon River
I really wanted to see the sloth and the anaconda that I've read so much about but I came upon this red faced monkey chomping on a guava fruit and I had to take this picture. In my desperate quest for the anaconda/sloth combination, I almost...
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Buena Vista, Bolivia
One of the most beautiful experiences I had in Bolivia was crossing a river on foot with our belongings over our head (the boat never showed up) and arriving to the other side to find our horses waiting for us to take us through. We picked and ate...
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Pa Yup Nai, Wang Chan District, Rayong, Thailand
Accompany elephants as they make their way to a “retirement” park in Northern Thailand after careers in trekking camps. The project is an attempt both to give the elephants a more pleasant, natural life andto rebuild the bonds between the animals...
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Siberian Federal District, Russia
In Land Rovers and on foot, climb Central Asia’s mountains in pursuit of snow leopards. Volunteers search for the elusive green-eyed cats by tracking their footprints, scat, and prey: the argali (mountain sheep) and the Altai ibex. The expeditions...
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Colorado, USA
Hike, bike, or ride at your leisure up through Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Colorado. For photographers, I recommend taking Trail Ridge Road for its vast opportunity to stop off and take pictures of beautiful views. The trip begins in the...
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South East Asia
This riverside orangutan rehabilitation camp is usually reachable only by boat. For times when the Sekonyer Kanan River runs dry, volunteers are building a 2.5-mile boardwalk to the camp. Workers are often approached by two curious orangutans, a...
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Kasane, Botswana
There is a sliver of Africa where four countries almost converge: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The Chobe River is one of the many separation points between Botswana and Namibia and it’s also where I experienced one of my favorite...
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Seal Bay Rd, Seal Bay SA 5221, Australia
One of my top must-do things for Australia was to see a kangaroo in the wild. After a short road trip, that was checked off my bucket list and then changed to feeding one. We were lucky enough to arrive at Parndana Animal Park, where there were...
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1 Rivier Street, Van Zylsrus, 8467, South Africa
Just south of the Botswana border, in the Kuruman River Reserve, you’ll find meerkats so friendly they occasionally jump on volunteers’ heads. Visitors study the effects of the mammals’ cooperative breeding, in which adults help...
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Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's greatest natural spectacles, its magical setting and abundant wildlife never failing to enthrall you. However the crater is just a small part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which offers a whole range of...
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Zona Industrial, San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R., Mexico
While in Cozumel Mexico this past November I had an opportunity of a lifetime! I had originally planned to visit Tulum Mayan ruins while our cruise ship stopped in Cozumel but INSTANTLY changed my mind when I found out we could participate in an...
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Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
There are not many places in the world where you can capture three distinct species in a single frame. In the Galapagos you can, from just a few yards away. I especially liked watching (and photographing) the way very distant relatives interacted....
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Tanzania
Baboons around every turn, zebras and wildebeests grazing on the savannah, lions lounging in trees above your head, and elephants strolling around. This is the animal kingdom at its best.
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Antarctica
They own this part of the globe, and maybe that’s why it’s so special. It may be one of the last places on earth where man hasn’t taken over. A world where humans are not the center of attention – that’s exactly what draws me here. The wildlife in...
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5 Geelbek St, Van Dyks Bay, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa
The small town of Gansbaai, about an hour and a half from Cape Town, South Africa, is the Great White Shark capital of the world. Every winter scores of these ocean giants descend on the small channel between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock known...
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Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Spending an early morning with our family in the monkey forest was a nice way to avoid the crowds, and have fun observing the monkeys. We enjoyed exploring this amazing nature reserve and shoot some family pictures given the lovely morning light.
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1 Monkey Mia Rd, Monkey Mia WA 6537, Australia
I've seen dolphins at Sea World and in passing pods while out on the water all over the world, but I've never experienced anything quite like Monkey Mia. Two to three times a day wild dolphins flock up to the beach at Monkey Mia for a snack. The...
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Franceville, Gabon
During a trip to West Africa, my wife, daughter, and I arranged to visit to a rather unknown gem in Gabon called Lekedi Park. Lekedi Park is a relatively new animal reserve on the eastern side of the country near the Republic of Congo. The park...
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We were on one of a several river journeys near Anavilhanas Lodge west of Manaus, looking for the expected dolphin, bird, or snake and right in front of us we find a sloth swimming across the wide river! Slow as molasses on land, but really not...
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Tanzania
I expected to witness the great migration, determined by the availability of grazing, of herds of Wildebeest and Zebra while visiting Serengeti National Park in Tanzania during the migration season. As the larger animals blanketed the vast African...
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Fort Portal-Mpondwe Rd, Rubirizi, Uganda
“Shut up!” I try to keep my speech patterns out of the trenches of popular slang phrase, I guess out of some weird allegiance to my ancient past as an English major, but when I’m too overwhelmed to think or care about words, they simply tumble out...
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Climb into a sturdy kayak for a polar safari, where you encounter the ice and its creatures such as the Crabeater seal, up close. Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic experts were the first to pioneer kayaking in the polar regions, which means...
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Botswana
We finally found a leopard, who was moving around and ultimately jumped into the tree above us to take a nap. What a gorgeous animal.
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Hluhluwe, 3960, South Africa
“Don’t move!” I was told. Perhaps that’s an odd highlight for a trip, the moments when you must remain stock still against the strong intuition to belago, run like hell. Yet these were the most exhilarating for me as a volunteer taking census data...
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Getting to the White Continent isn't easy. Ask anyone. So after a 3 day sail from South Georgia Island with nonstop 30 foot waves and seasickness that had me begging for mercy, this little guy welcomed me into his world of solitude and stillness....
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Station House, Dart Bridge Rd, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0DZ, UK
Otters and Butterflies may seem like an unlikely combination, but you'll find them together at the Buckfast Butterflies & Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary, in Dartmoor National Park. I can think of few animals more adorable to watch than playful otters,...
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Tanzania
I think I had more fun watching (and listening to) hippos than any other animal in the Serengeti, and they’re out in full force at “Hippo Junction,” a riverside sunset spot favored by the owners at Sayari Camp. Apparently, they love this part of...
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I'd dreamed of going to Kenya for years and I've always loved African animals. Getting to see them roaming freely in their own environment is something I'll never forget.
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Sungai Klias, Sabah, Malaysia
If you want to photograph Sabah Borneo's charismatic wildlife, there's no better way to get up close and personal, without stressing the animals, than by boat. If it's monkeys your after, the Klias River has many varieties, from the big-nosed...
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Sabah Wildlife Department, W.D.T. 200, Sandakan, Jalan Sepilok, Sepilok, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
There are only two places left on earth you can see orangutans in the wild and one of them is Borneo. One special place in Sandakan, in the northern Sabah province of Malaysia, is helping protect these incredible animals - the Sepilok Orang Utan...
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227 Airport Rd, Nome, AK 99762, USA
Musk Ox have inhabited the frozen arctic north for thousands of years. Their undercoat of hair that keeps them warm throughout the winter and falls out as the temperature rises. This is a prize wool for the natives to spin and knit scarfs, mittens...
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Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia
About 4 hours southwest from Sandakan we started a 3 day tour staying at a lodge directly on the riverbank of the Kinabatangan, the biggest river in Sabah, Borneo and second longest in Malaysia. On boat safaris and tours through primary...
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Jyatha, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
In Nepal there are monkeys everywhere, it is fun to hang out at the temples where they seem to congregate most and observe their behavior, so human like and so fun to watch.
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Koure, Niger
Walking alongside a herd of wild giraffes quietly grazing in the acacia-specked countryside is a welcome respite from the bustle of Niger's capital, Niamey. Located roughly 60 kilometers southeast of the city, the Kouré Giraffe Reserve is easily...
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Antarctica is home to 6 species of penguins - Adélies, Chinstraps, Emperors, Gentoos, Macaronis, and Rockhoppers. They mainly eat krill or fish and they have no real predators on land except skua birds who steal their eggs. Their predators in...
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Borrego Springs, CA 92004, USA
We visited friends in Borrego Springs, a tiny CA town on the other side of the mountains from Palm Springs. After breakfast, we took a walk toward the mountains to our northwest. And there to our utter amazement and delight, a herd of big horn...
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Gibraltar
Barbary macaque in Gibraltarare are the only wild apes in Europe. To reach the monkeys, you have to ascend the rock, either by foot, cable car or taxi. The largest group of monkeys lives around the Great Siege Tunnels. They spend over 30% of their...
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PR-191, Río Grande, 00745, Puerto Rico
Due to Hurricane Maria, El Yunque National Forest is currently closed. Please check the Forest Service website below for updates.

Few visitors to Puerto Rico leave without having visited El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. national...
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amuru, Lolim, Uganda
My favorite part of experiencing Murchison Falls National Park is the boat ride up the Nile from the dock near Paraa Lodge to the Falls. Along with a variety of birds, views of elephants, wildebeest, antelope and other animals along the shore,...
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Puntarenas Province, Buenos Aires, Costa Rica
Near Puntarenas, Costa Rica the El Manantial Macaw Sanctuary works hard every day to protect colorful macaws, monkeys, birds and sloths that have been seized in customs. All over South America people still try to smuggle or domesticate these wild...
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58355 Bison Range Rd, Charlo, MT 59824, USA
Frost on their humps and steam billowing from their oversize heads, bison look especially wild in winter. Hundreds of the iconic animals live on the National Bison Range, about an hour north of Missoula. The 10-mile round-trip Winter Drive is free...
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Sweni River, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, Kruger Park, 1350, South Africa
A herd of zebras stand proud in the African afternoon rain.
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Chimpanzee Island, Uganda
Ngamba Island Sanctuary in Uganda is one of the only places in the world where you can have an up close experience with almost-wild chimpanzees. I’ve taken an hour-long boat ride from Entebbe to the island, for the opportunity to walk and play...
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Buhoma, Uganda
This day was almost unreal for me as it was happening. We left our campsite early in the morning in darkness and drove up winding roads through morning mist and passed local farms until we reached the park. By mid-morning we were trekking through...