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5 Wildlife Travel Secrets You Must Know for 2015

Created: 17 April 2014

1) Zambia Is Thriving for African Safaris Due to its Safety from Ebola

Demand for African safaris exploded in 2014 to an all-time high, but the misguided perception that all of Africa was affected by the Ebola crisis means that you can experience safaris with even fewer other travelers than ever, while your tourism dollars fund wildlife conservation efforts at a critical time when there are less travelers.  Zambia is 100% safe from the Ebola crisis - it is 5,300km from the nearest Ebola outbreak, flights to Zambia do not stop in Ebola affected zones, and Zambia was one of the first countries to ban travelers from affected areas in order to protect its safari economy.

Zambia also has several distinct advantages over traditional safaris in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania or other Africa countries.  It is the birthplace of the walking safari, and home to the best canoe safari in Africa on the Zambezi River at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools. This makes Zambia one if the only places in Africa where you can enjoy walking and canoeing safaris in addition to traditional jeep safaris. In addition to the unprecedented variety of eco-systems and safari activities, Zambia’s guides are legendary, in part because walking safaris were born here and require more advanced tracking skills.

Wild Planet Adventures offers a multitude of award-winning Zambia safari options including walking, canoeing and jeep safaris with legendary master guides.

2) Brazil – Is the #1 Hot Travel Destination for 2015

Exposure from 2014’s World Cup and 2016’s Olympics have catapulted Brazil to the top of Wild Planet’s most popular destinations for 2015. And with good reason: The combination of jaguar safaris in the Pantanal (averaging a whopping 1.5 jaguars/day) with the wonders of the Amazon have created unprecedented demand. Many of The specialty “fazienda” horse-ranch lodges in the Pantanal are reporting that they are already  70%-80% sold out for the 2015 season, so interested travelers simply MUST make their reservations now for the 2015 season, which is March-Oct, with peak jaguar viewing starting in early July and continuing through the end of October. In a ddition to the Pantanal, Wild Planet includes a Primate Program designed by a primatologist to see rare primates in the Amazon, plus options in Iguassu Falls, Rio and more.


3) India’s Remote Assam Region - #1 Up & Coming Wildlife Destination for 2015

In the far north east of India lies an inland “peninsula” nestled between Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet and China. This melting pot of cultures and cuisines is not only the top tea growing region of India, it is also home to 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the national parks of Manas and Kaziranga. Wildlife expert Josh Cohen, Director of Wild Planet Adventures, says “In Kaziranga its typical to see 40 rhinos, several herds of wild elephants, up to 500 ungulates and perhaps even a tiger, all in your field of vision at once.  India’s Kaziranga is one of the only places where you can have a safari experience that rivals an African safari.  It even has an advantage, because you’ll also be tracking tigers by listening to warning cries, looking for pug marks, and tracking kills, which creates a more exciting and participatory wildlife safari experience.”  Wild Planet’s “Leopards, Tigers & Palaces is the most comprehensive wildlife-multi-safari available in India. Travelers track tigers, leopards, rhinos and other big game by jeep, elephant and camel in 5 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus the Taj Mahal and the cultural sites of Jaipur and Jodhpur. 


4) Thailand’s Secret Wildlife Sanctuaries Bordering Myanmar Are Now Open to US Travelers

There’s a reason most people haven’t heard of Kaeng Krachan National Park or Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary, the two best national parks in Thailand for wildlife adventures. Neither is easily accessible, guides are not readily available, and only one US operator—the wildlife specialists Wild Planet Adventures – offers authentic wildlife expeditions into the parks.  Yet Kaeng Krachan is the largest –and least visited – national park in Thailand, with the most volume of wildlife of any park in Thailand. Nestled up against the remote mountains bordering Myanmar, safaris in Kaeng Krachan are done by 4WD Jeep and by foot, along with night safaris for nocturnal animals. The park is home to Tiger, Black Leopard, Wild Elephant, Asiatic Black bear, Sun bear, Gibbons, Langurs, Macaques, Slow loris, Civet Cats, Giant Squirrel, Flying Fox and 6 species of Hornbills. Klong Seang, on the other hand, is a wildlife sanctuary on the far northeast corner of a 185 sq. km. lake, where wildlife viewing is best done by long-tail boat and kayak (for silent approach to the animals) from a base at a spectacular floating Aqua-lodge. Klong Seang is known for its healthy populations of Guar, and is home to the extremely rare Clouded Leopard as well as Wild Boar, Wild Elephant, Monitor Lizards, Macaques, Barking Dear, Mouse dear, an exceptionally diverse population of owls and owlettes and much more.   The combination of the two very different parks and their diverse safari adventure activities make ideal compliments, and are ideally combined with a few days of culture and an elephant camp in Chiang Mai and ending with a few days of snorkeling and beaches on some of Thailand’s best islands, as captured in Wild Planet’s Hidden Thailand itinerary.


5) Borneo –2014 May Have Been The Year We Saved The Most Human Of All Primates

For many lovers of wildlife travel, Orangutans are somewhat of a “holy grail.”  There is no other animal more capable of the sort of magical, mind-blowing connection between traveler and wild animal that wildlife lovers dream of, than Orangutans. That’s not surprising, considering this great ape is one of humankind’s closest relatives, sharing 97% of our DNA, and are born with the ability to reason and think. They are often part of behavioral studies because they are considered one of the smartest mammals in the world, and have recently be discovered to even have their own culture. Nevertheless, many wildlife travelers are completely unprepared for just how emotionally blown-away they are by witnessing Orangutan behaviors of love, nurturing young, playfulness, courtship and other ways they relate amongst themselves. They are so astoundingly human-like in their expressions, its no wonder the word “Orang-Utan” means “Man of the Jungle.” Despite this strong affinity to humans, the world’s demand for palm oil – and subsequent destruction of forest for palm-oil plantation -- has destroyed the majority of Orang-utan habitat and brought the entire population to the brink of extinction.

So its with great joy --and relief-- to report that in 2014 more than a dozen major producers, traders, and consumers of palm oil have pledged to produce, buy, or sell only deforestation-free palm oil. Some 60 percent of the global palm oil trade (about 50 million tons, and increasing) is covered by these new forest-friendly palm oil policies. 

This will likely create pressure on the remaining companies that don’t have zero deforestation commitments. Palm oil is in thousands of household items, from shampoos to processed foods, comprising nearly 50% of the packaged products on our supermarket shelves.

While many travelers to Borneo only see Orangutans at rescue centers, Wild Planet Adventures specializes in authentic expeditions to see these great apes in the wild, as well as Borneo’s weird and wildlife including pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, Bornean gibbons, tarsiers and slow loris, and Borneo’s famous “gliders”; mammals, reptiles and amphibians that have evolved to glide or fly amongst in Borneo’s rainforests, which are the most ancient rainforests in the world. This exciting trip is capped off with a few final days at a water bungalow on stilts in the midst of the Sipadan reef in the Celebes sea, named one of  the world’s top 5 snorkel and dive locations.


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