The northern white rhino is so endangered that it’s believed there may only be four left in the wild, making it a strong candidate for world’s rarest mammal.
Once it roamed the grassland of sub-Saharan east and central Africa, but now the last remaining population is in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Habitat loss, poaching, and now war have decimated its population (estimated at around 500 in the 1970s). It is almost impossible to come close to this animal in its natural habitat, but you can see small populations at San Diego Animal Park, USA and Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. Its close relative, the southern white rhino, is on the other hand a great conservation success story. Considered extinct at the end of the 19th century, a small population was found in South Africa, and a combination of breeding programs and protected habitats has seen the country’s population grow to an estimated 15,000.
– Jerdon’s courser has to be one of the rarest bird( on the planet. After eluding ornithologists for years, it was finally spotted in 1986 in a remote corner of Andhra Pradesh. eastern India.
So little is known about this bird’s habitat or behavior that it takes luck or determined sleuthing to track it down, and estimates suggest that there are 200 or fewer in existence today. It is nocturnal, so most likely to be heard at dawn or dusk, and it has a yellow bill and a distinctive orange patch around the throat. There is one recording of its song—made by a British conservation scientist on a field trip in 2001, who was lucky enough to spot it in flight, and hear its distinctive “kwik-koo” call In a bid to protect the bird, this recording has not been released to the wider public. Conservation work focuses on protecting its habitat of scrub forests in the Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary Andhra Pradesh—a corner of the Pennar river valley threatened by irrigation schemes. In an innovative attempt to track the bird, noise boxes issued to park rangers mimic the courser’s cry, the aim being to find out more about its habitat and determine the true numbers in the region
are the most sociable of big cats and watching them in a group is endlessly entertaining—although you won’t need reminding that nature is red in tooth and claw if you head to Masai Mara game reserve in south-western Kenya. The king of the beasts is a fine sight—from a safe distance—and one of the best places to view them is at Masai Mara, a huge game reserve in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, dose to the border with Tanzania. Big cats are here because their food source is plentiful, with huge herds of wildebeest arriving on their annual migration every summer. You will spot zebra (also on the lion diet), giraffe, gazelle, plus hippos, and trots around the Mara river itself.
Leopards and cheetah
are frequently sighted, but lions steal the show for most visitors. This is the location the BBC chose for filming Big Car Diary, a soap-opera-style nature program, recording the life of the prides living in the reserve, so you are almost certain to see a family group—possibly even a TV star—on your travels. Choose from luxury camps inside the reserve, or more cheaper options outside its boundaries (where game is almost as plentiful). One of the best places to stay for game•viewing in comfort is the original lodge Keekorok, built right in the path of the wildebeest migration.
Animals are so plentiful around the lodge during peak season (July to October) that you don’t even have to stray outside the grounds to eyeball the animals.
Go on the trait of a flyer Kanha National Park is Shere Khan territory—a classic Jungle Book setting where you might just be lucky enough to spot the rare and solitary Bengal tiger. Even if he proves elusive, the bird and animal life is spectacular.
The remote Mandia district of Madhya Pradesh is home to one of the largest populations of Bengal tigers. Bamboo forests and meadows are rich in spotted deer, antelope, and the endangered swamp deer, plus hyena, bison, leopard, and at least 170 varieties of birds. The reserve offers elephant safaris—a safe if precarious perch for wildlife viewing.
There are several lodges and holeis close to the reserve, but one of the most atmospheric is Tiger Camp, a collection of six tents surrounding a waterhole on the southern end of the reserve, created by a naturalist, and designed to create minima! environmental impact on this beautiful stretch of wilderness. Viewing opportunities are good all year, although the resorts and the reserve shut down from May to November because of the monsoon.
SEE ITS SUMATRAN RELATIVI ‘You will be lucky to spot the Sumatran tiger, thi small and critically endangered cousin of the Bengal tiger, but the hunt h guaranteed to be exciting. Most of the estimated population of 400 lives in Sumatran national parks such as Kerinci Seblat—a spectacularly beautiful highland game reserve tha Is also home to rhinos. elephants. gibbon, and clouded leopards.