2014 in review

Dear all

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays whatever religion you choose to follow or ignore. 2014 has been a fun year for me with highlights including a Solenodon and a Snow Leopard, though the real highlight was a week in Peru with my son on our first hardcore wildlife trip.

Facebook friends will have seen this picture already but this letter from me to Father Christmas 40 years ago amused me. You might spot a heavy bias in favour of mammals (for my toy zoo) and mammal watching super powers, along with a United Nations-style nod towards both my mum and dad with, respectively, requests for a bible and a train set. Neither of which I really wanted but which I felt needed to be included if we had hope of reaching agreement on the final text. Give me the child until they are 7 and I will give you the adult. So – Vladimir Dinets and Matt Miller in particular – take care of your new offspring over the next 84 months lest they too grow up addicted to this rewarding but extremely expensive wildife habit 🙂

xmas list

I’m hoping to visit Guyana, Sumatra and Tibet in 2015. What plans do others have?

Finally a big thanks to all who have begun – or continue – to send trip reports and contribute to the blog and mammalwatching.com this year. Our adventurous community is small but growing and remains generous with sharing knowledge. I also think its fair to say that, aside from helping fellow mammalwatchers, we also contribute a little to scientific knowledge and conservation.

Here are some stats that the WordPress.com prepared for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 69,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy 2015



  • tomeslice

    Well done!

    The popularity of this blog and complementary website really materialized in Ladakh, where not only 7 participants came together for a mammal watching journey organized by Jon, but we also spontaneously ran into at least 2 different groups who follow the website and blog! It must have been a real ego booster for you Jon to run into people who recognized you at Leh airport, the Thikse Monastery, and in the middle of snow leopard country 😉

    For me 2014 was a bit less about mammals, but snow leopards was a definite highlight, though we shouldn’t underestimate the coolness of the much sought-after stone marten, my first ever gray wolves, my first 2 pika species, mountain weasel and other cool species we encountered on the trip, plus the two Israeli gazelle species and an unconfirmed striped hyena last week (so I won’t count it). But one of the real mammalian highlights came in the form of homo sapiens. I got to meet some really cool people on that trip to India and I hope all our paths will cross again some time.

    I think 2015 is the year of the Caracal. Hopefully Jason and James Wooglar are coming to visit in Israel and we’ll go exploring some good wildlife habitats locally.

    And I’m extremely excited about my upcoming trip to Sumatra as well. Since practically everything I will see there is a lifer, 2015 could quickly turn into the year of the Sun Bear, or year of the Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat duo, with a small chance of Sumatran Rhino. (Did you hear that, Father Christmas???)

    Happy new year to everyone who reads and/or participates in this forum and may 2015 bring you only good things!


  • Farnborough John

    I check the forum out most days to see if there is anything new. Most of the mammalwatching birders I know use the site and contribute. Its a great resource and as word spreads it will get even better. Happy New Year and good hunting all!


  • Mike Richardson

    My only cast iron plan is a trip to Nicaragua in February accompanied by some extremely knowledgeable mammal experts. All being well my first trip to the Neotropics will be a mammal fest!

    Work permitting I’ll probably make a couple more mammal trips overseas and I would like to mop up a handful of remaining UK mammal ticks (Brant’s Bat in the hand would be great!).

    A big thanks to Jon for tirelessly maintaining this site/community and to all the contributors (I read every report, post and comment). Wishing everyone on here a happy and mammal filled New Year!

  • Sarah Young

    I’ve not been much of a contributor to this blog (something that will change in 2015!) but I am an avid reader…my husband and I have used it to plan many fantastic mammal watching trips over the past five years. It really is an incredible resource for anyone with an interest in mammals. I don’t know how we ever coped without it!

    Our own mammalwatching has been somewhat curtailed since having twin girls in April, but we’ve enjoyed living vicariously through other people’s trip reports (including all the snow leopard ones…so jealous!). We did manage a trip to Spain last month en famille though, courtesy of mammalwatching.com, where we had fantastic views of Iberian lynx…start them young that’s what I say!

    Thanks Jon for setting up and maintaining such a great website and to all those who contribute via trip reports and the forum. I hope you all have a fantastic 2015 and get to see all the mammals you desire!


  • vdinets

    Thanks, Jon! And I’m really glad we did the Solenodon trip because it now appears to have been a one-time opportunity.

    My plans will depend on book contracts (I might get one for “Finding Mammals in Europe”) and guiding requests; I’d also like to do a trip to Washington State and coastal British Columbia in summer, but more interesting places will probably have to wait for another year.

  • mattinidaho

    Thanks Jon! I’m already doing my part to pass the wildlife bug on to the little guy, even though he’s only 2 weeks old!

    2014 highlights including finally seeing pygmy rabbits (twice — in Wyoming & Idaho), northern elephant seal, marsh rabbit and a great trip to South Africa — with aardvark, black-footed cat, hedgehog, Smith’s red rock rabbit, roan, white rhino and so much more.

    The new arrival will curtail mammal watching trips a bit in the new year, but I plan to look for monk seal in Hawaii, Florida mouse & other stuff while leading a workshop at Archbold Biological Station and hopefully some mammaling with John Fox in Tennessee.

    Thanks as always for this site, Jon, and look forward to more mammal watching trip reports, discussion and debate in 2015!

  • tai haku

    Thanks for the resources and knowledge and congrats on the epic 2014 all.

    Highlights this year for me were an epic run through Brazil getting Giant Armadillo, Jaguar, Tapir, Giant Anteater and both otters, successfully following instructions from this site to see various species in Morocco and getting Indian Rhino and phenomenal views of Jungle Cat in Nepal. Lowlights were somehow missing Barbary Ground Squirrel. I owe a number of trip reports.

    In 2015, we’ll be joining Matt and Vladimir as mammalwatchers with newborns so will be planning some relatively easy trips and not much more. Oz, and perhaps the Canaries, perhaps Florida or Yellowstone and hopefully wrapping up the last of the british mainland species for both of us but eager to hear others experiences with mammalwatching locations with kids! Good luck all!

    • brugiere dominique

      I just can say the same: Thanks Jon for your website and thanks to all the contributors. It is so helpul. It is a mine of informations.
      2014 highlights were 2 Porcupines in Central America, Central American Night Monkey in Panama, Hirola in Kenya, 3 species of Gazelles, Nubian Ibex and Onager in Israel, Brown bear, Wolf… in Spain, Mediterranean Monk Seal in Croatia (Thanks Jon), Hawaiian Monk Seal; Narwhal and Bowhead in Nunavut, Fossa and Fanaloka in Madagascar and finally African Wild Cat, Sand Cat and Striped Ground Squirrel in Morocco-Western Sahara.
      In 2015 I intend to go to Australia(January-February), Israel(March), Estonia and Spain (May), Mongolia and Russia(Lake Baikal only) in July-August, September in Tibet(I dream) and I think again Madagascar in November.
      Anyway I wish Good Luck and Happy New Year to everybody.

      • tomeslice

        Dominique, what species are you after in Israel? When are you coming?

        I would love to try to look for some mammals together if you want. I can also borrow my mom’s car which is free and free gas because it’s her company car. I keep trying to recruit local mammal watchers, but it seems not as popular here in comparison to drinking beers and going out to pubs.. (which is also fun)

        If you want to combine efforts email me: tomer.ben-yehuda@hotmail.com

  • brugiere dominique

    Tomer, my priorities would be Arabian oryx and Blanford’s Fox+ Mesopotamian Fallow deer (unfortunately not completely pure as European Bison is). I can’t contact you directly. Better write me at
    brugiere.dom@sfr.fr and I will respond. But tomorow I am leaving to Australia.

  • vnsankar123

    I will say the same as everyone above has: thanks for a fabulous mammal-watching resource! 2014 was a great year, with Giant, San Joaquin, and Heermann’s Kangaroo Rats plus Snowshoe Hare and Northern Flying Squirrel the highlights in CA. I travelled very little this year, but still got Hirola, Tana River Mangabey, Tana River Red Colobus, and Lesser Kudu in Kenya.

    Hopefully, Odzala NP in 2015…

  • Jon Hall

    Odzala NP… lucky you!

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