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5 Wildlife Sanctuaries Worth the Trip

Date: October 23, 2014 | By: bigfive | Category: Travel Blog

A shot from the Tadoba Andhari Reserve in Maharashtra, India

A shot from the Tadoba Andhari Reserve in Maharashtra, India

Did you know that the first wildlife sanctuary ever created came around 300 BC when King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri Lanka created a wildlife sanctuary near Mihintale, where he banned hunting and tree cutting. In the US In the early 20th century, President Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed the first American sanctuary at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, for the protection of egrets. Their striking plumage was in high demand for ladies’ hats.

We selected five vital wildlife sanctuaries that we believe are worth the experience.

  1. Maharashtra, India: Tadoba Andhari Reserve is the largest national park in Maharashtra. Total area of the Reserve is 625.4 square kilometers/241.5 square miles. This includes Tadoba National Park, created in 1955, and Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary, begun in 1986. The reserve also includes Protected Forest and Tadoba Lake, which acts as a buffer between park forest and the extensive farmland. This lake is a perennial water source and habitat for Muggar crocodiles. Tadoba Tiger Reserve is home the rare Bengal tiger (about 45 individuals), Indian leopard, sloth bear, gaur, nilgai, striped hyena, small Indian Civet, jungle cats, sambar, barking deer, chital, and chausingha. Tadoba Lake also sustains the marsh crocodile, once common throughout Maharashtra. The lake is an ornithologist’s paradise with some 195 species recorded here, including three endangered species. Some 74 species of butterflies have been found here as well as dragonflies, stick insects, jewel beetles and the praying mantis. Explore our India adventures; then call us to see how we can incorporate this unique area into your ideal Indian itinerary.
  2. Camp Leakey, Borneo: Orangutan Foundation International, originally called the Orangutan Research and Conservation Project, was founded by Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and her then-husband Rod Brindamour in 1986. They started the project to study the ecology and behavior of wild orangutans. The focus later turned towards conservation, protection and rehabilitation of orangutans. This is where OFI’s research is done. A visit to the facility is in our Indonesia In Depth adventure.
  3. Kalkoura, New Zealand: New Zealand is the only home for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, Hector’s dolphin. There are only about 8,000 Hector’s dolphins remaining in the world. With a limited home range, Hector’s dolphins are found mainly around Banks Peninsula, with smaller pockets on the west and southern coasts of South Island, and the west coast of the North Island. A new marine sanctuary has been created at Kalkoura to protect these dolphins as well as migrating whales, dusky dolphins, seals, albatrosses, rock lobster, shellfish and finfish. Kaikōura has one of the most biologically rich ocean environment in the world. You can explore this marine wonderland, a truly unique experience, during our Natural New Zealand journey.
  4. Serengeti, Tanzania: Research generated by the Serengeti Cheetah Project is the source of much of what is known about wild cheetahs today, including their ecology, ranging patterns and behaviors. The study area currently covers some 220 square kilometers of plains in the southern corner of the Serengeti National Park. With approximately 210 cheetahs within the ecosystem, this research project provides invaluable insight into the challenges facing these cheetahs, which in turn helps mitigate the threats they face and ensures their long-term protection. Fortunately, you can still see cheetah on one of our African safaris such as this 10-day Tanzania journey.
  5. Stann Creek District, Belize: The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve is a unique sanctuary in southern Belize that covers an area of about 150 square miles of tropical forest, and is the world’s only jaguar preserve. It was declared a Forest Preserve in 1984 and finally a jaguar preserve in 1986. Should you visit, please note that you may see signs of recent jaguar activity, but it is highly unlikely that you will see a jaguar. These wonderful animals are masters of stealth and their very existence is based on their seeing, but not being seen. Cockscomb is also renowned for its bird populations and boasts up to 300 recorded species. These include macaw, the great curossow and keel-billed toucan. Other animals you may encounter include jaguarundi, peccary, howler monkey, gibnut, agouti, snakes, and coatamundi. You can incorporate a visit here in your Belize itinerary such as Belize.


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