Your Biggest Miss of the year (and targets for next year)

So every year it’s interesting to hear what people are after for the next year to come… But also I was wondering what everybody’s biggest miss was for 2016.


For me it was clearly the Caracal, which has eluded me for 3 years now in Israel, and I flew all the way to S. Africa to see it (well along with many other things), and it STILL eluded me! I must be cursed.. 😛

On the other hand, I had my most mammal-full trip yet, with 75 native species seen and like 5-6 more introduced species.


My targets for this coming year are definitely the lowland gorillas, bongos, and with some help from above, one-two species of pangolin (White-bellied is more common, but the black-bellied one they raised at Sangha Lodge has not had any human interaction for about a year now according to Rod, but they still track him daily(?) for research) 


Actually, pangolin alone would be incredible, but anyway, I’m really excited for the CAR.


What’s everybody’s greatest miss of 2016, and biggest target for 2017?

Happy Holidays everyone, and thanks Jon, as always, for keeping this community alive and relevant.  


  • Vladimir Dinets

    My main miss for 2016 (as for 2014 and 2015) was not being able to travel to remote locations due to family obligations. The best I did in 2016 was getting to Cuba (where I missed the solenodon but got pretty much everything else), finding the last two species I was missing in southern Mexico, and “collecting” all endemic mammals of the Balkans (where I missed the marbled polecat).

    My target list for 2017 is pretty much the same as yours 😉 I’m also planning a few short trips to pick up the species I am still missing in and around North America; I’ll post about these trips here soon. In September I’ll move to Asia; going to be fun. I’ll probably guide hardcore mammalwatching trips to remote locations in China, Vietnam, Borneo and elsewhere in the region starting next winter.

  • Michael Kessler

    My biggest misses were Dwarf Anteater and Olingo in Costa Rica. We spent two afternoons in the Damas mangroves without a trace of an anteater and three evenings at the hummingbird galley at Monteverde without the olingo showing up. But we saw enough other good mammals in Costa Rica, so I can almost live with the misses…

    For 2017, I want to finally see a beaked whale. I have seen 35 cetacean species but no bw yet. We’ll spend 12 days on the Azores, and besides the boat trips I will spend hours on the veranda of our apartment scanning the sea with my scope, so I am optimistic. The othe trip will be to India, where I hope to be able to show a wild tiger to my daughters. I have already seen it, but this is such a magnificent creature…

    I’d love to join you guys in CAR or Brazilian Amazonia, but with 20 days of vacation per year and family, there are limits to my travelling…

  • Miles Foster

    Sitatunga – my wife and I had very much hoped to see one in Botswana but they are very elusive, as you all know. Probably our best chance was when staying at a remote walking camp in the Okavango. Better still, our tent was pitched on the edge of a dense, papyrus-filled swamp, ideal habitat. One day after lunch instead of going straight back to the tent for a siesta, we hung around the dining area writing up our diaries and photographing the bird life. At tea that afternoon our guide asked us excitedly, ‘Did you see the sitatunga?’ ‘No! Where?’ ‘Right outside your tent just after lunch.’
    As for what we want to see in 2017, we are a lot less experienced than many of you so there’s a long wish list. We are still toying with Tibet as a destination but we want to travel overland from Nepal and it is very uncertain that the roads will be open. So maybe this will be the year for Iberian lynx…
    Good luck to you all. I hope your daughters get to see a tiger, Michael, and good luck to Vladimir for the move to Asia, I’d love to join one of your trips but not sure about the ‘hardcore’ bit – now that I can afford to do these things my body demands certain levels of comfort, sadly. Finally, I’d also like to join in thanking Jon for the whole site; an invaluable source of information and inspiration.

  • Jon Hall

    2016 was pretty good for me and I saw a few things that I missed from previous years: Northern Right Whale Dolphin, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and Tayra. My biggest miss was very nearly a Riverine Rabbit 2 days ago but I saw one as I was about to get in the car to leave. Phew. Next year I’m taking a trip down the Amazon to look for some very nice primates and a bunch of bats and hope to get to China, Taiwan and Argentina. And am extremely tempted by a Pygmy hippo trip too. Well I am extremely tempted about many things including your CAR plans Tomer. Damn this having to work stuff. It really gets in the way! And thanks to everyone who takes the time to post, comment and send trip reports. It’s the community that make mammal watching work. Happy new mammal filled year.

  • Alan D

    2106 was pretty good for me with top targets like Jaguar, Tapir, and Giant Anteater all knocked off the list. I also finally saw a Long-tailed Weasel in Yellowstone as well. So, no big misses really except that the Giant Anteater sighting was fleeting and I want a better one someday.

    2017 brings 3 weeks in Borneo so I expect to see the usual wildlife there. Elusive targets would include the Western Tarsier and of course a Sun Bear and Clouded Leopard. With 4 nights in Deramakot I hope to see at least 1 of those 3.

    That might be the only big trip in 2017 since some family obligations have come up. There are some local AZ targets I might go for like Ringtail and Black-footed Ferrets. We will see.

    I want to echo the thanks to Jon and everyone else for keeping the community going.


  • Hamman Prinsloo

    Hi everyone!

    I’m a 16 year old mammalwatcher from South Africa. I started with mammalwatching December 2013. Standing on 65 species at the moment. I’m back now from a trip to Kgalagadi and Namibia’s coast and I saw 5 new mammals on the trip.

    My biggest miss for the year is probably Caracal. We have been to Pilanesberg regularly this year where caracal was seen by other tourists. Kgalagadi is apparently also a hotspots for them but we still didn’t find one. I’d love to see Caracal and Serval in 2017.

  • John Wright

    Biggest miss was Flat-headed Cat (Sabah). Highlights include Sunda Clouded Leopard (Sabah) and Red & White Giant Flying Squirrel (Taiwan). Targets for 2017 are Snow Leopard (off to Ladakh in February) and hopefully get to the Brazilian Pantanal for Jaguar etc. But at the moment looking forward to a week in Spain in mid January (Sierra de Andujar) with a mate for some laid back wildlife watching. Been before so probably nothing new but a great place to be. Happy New year to you all.

    • Miles Foster

      To John Wright,

      if you go to the Pantanal I would seriously consider looking into the SouthWild operation run by zoologist Mariana Valqui, who is charming: We stayed with them a few years ago. It is a little basic but none the worse for that, well run, clean and comfortable. Their fazenda Santa Tereza is ideally located on the Pixaim river, and is an excellent place to see hyacinth macaws, jabiru stork, and giant otters, better still we had an excellent jaguar sighting just down stream from the lodge and another guest saw an ocelot. SouthWild also runs a couple of houseboats in the Porto Joffre area, which means that you are only minutes away from the best jaguar-spotting areas and the guides and boatmen were excellent. We had 7 first-class jaguar sightings in a few days. You may come across some old negative rumours about SouthWild mostly put about by disgruntled business rivals but we have nothing but good to say about them and I would go back tomorrow. Our guide with SouthWild was Benedito de Freitas, if he is still working in the area he would also be worth contacting:

  • Venkat Sankar

    2016 was a reasonable year for me–no wild, remote locations, but a good selection of species seen nonetheless. I’d say my biggest misses were:
    Ringtail – I seem cursed never to find one of these; tried in Sacramento Valley and (a lot) in Mexico, but never connected with one
    White-sided Jackrabbit – really wanted to see this; missed due to delays in Mexico
    Spotted Bat – couldn’t find this one with Vladimir in Inyo County (CA)

    Highlights for the year included Dark Kangaroo Mouse, Pygmy Rabbit, etc. in a great weekend in Eastern CA; an epic trip to Mexico featuring a slew of endemics (incl. goodies like Mexican Giant Shrew, Volcano Rabbit, Perote Mouse, Phillips’ Kangaroo Rat, Durango Chipmunk). Also saw my first Blue Whale and got really crappy looks at my lifer Mountain Lion near home in CA.

    Planning to do the Amazon trip in 2017, so hopefully lots of cool stuff there. Not sure what else; definitely more exploring in California and maybe another short trip to Mexico…

  • Antee

    2016 was a year of cats with:
    * Serval and African wild cat – kenya
    * Pallas cat – Yolyn Am, Mongolia
    * Snowleopard – Yolyn Am, Mongolia
    * Iberian Lynx – Andujar NP, Spain

    But also other sought after animals like:
    * Red Uakari – Tapiche reserve
    * Wolly monkey – Tapiche reserve
    * Tamandua – Tapiche reserve

    With the Snowleopard as the overall highlight.
    My biggest miss was the Long eared Jerboa in Gobi desert, Mongolia. They had already gone into hibernation (mid September) and was completely gone…

    For 2017 my biggest target will be Clouded Leopard and Flat headed cat. Going back to Borneo in Mars.
    Also alot of other plans who is not finished yet 🙂

  • geomalia

    My biggest miss was Pygmy Hippo, of course. Fisher is a runner up, especially considering how many hours I spent searching for it. I did see some great mammals in 2016, though. My top 5 were:
    1. Jaguar – an amazing on-foot encounter in Manu.
    2. White-bellied Pangolin – two in Sierra Leone
    3. Baird’s and Brazilian Tapirs (tie)
    5. Giant Otter

    I don’t have any firm plans for 2017 yet, so I don’t have a target list. I might head to Borneo in June, in which case the cats plus Sun Bear and Banded Linsang would be the top targets. 🙂


  • tomeslice

    Very good stuff from everyone! Good luck with your 2017 goals, and hopefully some of our paths will cross this year and the next few years to come.

    Sunda Clouded Leopard (with the sun bear and the marbled cat) is now making it to the top of my list after CAR.. But some little-explored regions of South America where the Andean Mountain Cat is found are winking at me as well.

    Cheers everyone and good year 🙂

  • kittykat23uk

    Well I only really managed one trip last year, that was Ladakh and Tadoba and top lifers were snow leopard and lynx.

    In Tadoba, plenty of tiger and sloth bears seen but yet again I dipped on dhole! That’s five trips to India now and still no dhole! Doh!

    Next year is a big year for me, first back to Borneo next month and main target there is clouded leopard which we are going to try really hard for plus the other cats, binturong would also be nice as should better views of pygmy elephant.

    The in September it’s three weeks in south Africa where we hope to get lots of Karoo and kgalagadi specials, including aardvark and riverine rabbit. Hopefully lots of lifers to look forward to. 🙂

  • Tigrillo

    2016 was the year I finally saw a bear after having looked for them for years – even sleeping in a hut while a female with three cubs were just outside and seen by my friend travelling with me. But Japan was good to me: both Asiatic Black Bear and Japanese Serow seen in a couple of days.

    The biggest miss was Barbary Sheep in Morocco I guess.

Leave a Reply