Best Kept Secrets
When we were in Colombia, Cheryl Antonucci and I were chatting about which mammalwatching destinations were under visited. Colombia was one example, although the reasons for that are well known, and changing. But what other places don’t feature as often on trip reports here as you think they should? Why do so many people go to the Pantanal in Brazil, and so few to Bolivia, for example?
I’d like to write a post on a top 10 under mammalwatched places. But first I would love suggestions on which coutries or parks to include. Chad, Papua New Guinea, New Jersey … what do you recommend?
As for Bolivian Pantanal, it’s not geared for tourism that much. In Puerto Suarez you can hire a boat and travel into the Pantanal and everything is much cheaper than in Brazil. I only learned about it when I was on my way out of the region, so I never tried, but the area north of the city (up Rio El Pimiento) looks nice on satellite photos.
* Northeastern India with the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur.
Totally unexplored and still alot of good forests and habitat.
* Burma (Myanmar)
* Saudi Arabia
Now it is possible to get tourist VISA very easy online.
Interesting ungulates and other things. And a great landscape! The birders are already here… when is it time for Mammalwatching?
Noel Kempff , Kaa Iya, Amboro.
Totally wilderness and totally empty.
Here are my top choices:
– West Papua: Arfaks for possums and cuscus, Biak for bats, Mupi Gunung for Tree Kangaroos. And it must be possible to see Long-beaked Echidnas somewhere…
– Kenya: this might strike some as an outside choice but I’m differentiating safari tourism from mammal watching. Yes, Kenya is great for seeing the “big 5” but a proper mammal watching itinerary to Kenya would include a totally different set of targets: Naked Mole-rat, Crested Rat, Giant Forest Hog, Heart-nosed Bat, Hirola, Striped Hyena, Tana River Mangabey, Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew. These are not reported here often if at all.
– Liberia, Tai NP (Ivory Coast), and Sierra Leone: Tiwai Island is one of the best places in the world to watch primates, while Gola NP can produce Pygmy Hippo, Royal Antelope, and Tree Pangolin. Forests of Liberia (e.g. Sapo NP, Belle NF) seem good for Zebra Duiker, etc. There are also a number of interesting, little known species like Liberian Mongoose, Nimba Otter-shrew, etc. waiting to be found.
– Somaliland and Ogaden: lots of endemic, dry-country antelopes e.g. Dibatag, Speke’s Gazelle, Beira. Naked Mole-rat, Somali Pygmy Gerbil, and Speke’s Pectinator. African Wild Ass (in Eritrea). Reportedly good for Caracal, Striped Hyena (locally), and Aardwolf. Possibly Crested Rat.
– Iran: amazing for carnivores. There are known sites that seem fairly reliable for Sand Cat, African Wildcat (ornata), Caracal, Leopard (saxicolor), Pallas’s Cat, Ruppell’s and Blanford’s Foxes, Striped Hyena, Indian Wolf, Syrian Brown Bear etc. Also great for ungulates e.g. Wild Goat, Mouflon, Chinkara, Goitered Gazelle, maybe Persian Fallow Deer. And small mammals–lots of jerboas, Calomyscus (Mouselike Hamsters), Mouse-tailed Dormice, Afghan Pika etc. Tandoureh NP, Parvar PA, Bahram-goor NP, and Abbasabad-Naein WR seem like world-class mammalwatching sites in particular.
– Burma: a lot of great forest on the map, but no idea how accessible any of it is. I’m sure there’s a lot of cool wildlife left though, like Indochinese Clouded Leopard, Sun Bear, Eld’s Deer, Red Serow, etc.
I also think Bolivia, Colombia, NE India, Burma, Laos, Transcaucasia, Tajikistan, and Chad would be incredible to visit.
I wonder if it’s possible to walk around with a thermal scope in Iran, considering that people have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for using trail cameras.
Speaking of North America, seeing some reports from Greenland would be great, Mexico (particularly Baja and Chiapas) deserves a lot more attention, Yukon is as interesting as Alaska but seldom visited, there are lots of other very interesting places in Canada that have never been mentioned in trip reports here… as for the lower 48, N Idaho/NE Washington/NW Montana and central Texas are probably the most interesting parts not getting enough attention.
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I don’t even know where to start… Nepal is great (in 1997 I got 70+ spp. there in three weeks, just in 5 locations). Ukraine is worth exploring if you are into small mammals and based in Europe. Transcaucasian countries are wonderful. Turkestan countries have a lot of diversity although traveling there isn’t always easy. Chinese side of the Gobi, and NW China in general, have a lot to see. Guyana is a perfect country to see tons of species without spending too much time on the road; it has direct flights to Trinidad so you can combine them. Malawi is also compact and has lots of parks where you can walk around freely. Burundi is seldom visited but Risizi Delta is worth the trouble of an extra border crossing. As for places I haven’t been to yet but suspect they are underrated, certainly Somaliland, Iran, and many islands of Melanesia.