Tag Archives: animals

Book Review: Wild Sri Lanka, by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Wild Sri LankaTo readers unfamiliar with Sri Lankan wildlife, the claims Gehan sets out in the introductory chapter to Wild Sri Lanka might seem fantastical. One of the best whale-watching destinations in the world? The largest annually occurring concentration of elephants in the world? The largest “bird wave” phenomenon in the world? It seems hard to believe, of an island roughly the size of Tasmania or Ireland.

But by presenting data he has gathered over many years, and sharing personal accounts of

33 birds I photographed in Sri Lanka (and another 22 I didn’t)

Yala Crested hawk eagle 440 wide

On my recent trip to Sri Lanka, birdwatching was slotted in around interviews, hotel inspections, and hours and hours on the road. I did get chance to go on a proper birding walk at Rainforest Eco Lodge in Sinharaja and Hotel Sigiriya though, and saw lots of birds on safari in Yala and hiking in the Knuckles. All in all, I clocked up at least 55 species (that’s just the ones I noted down) and managed… Continue reading

Elephants on parade: cool or cruel?

 

Maligawa Tusker at Esala Perahera
Maligawa Tusker at Esala Perahera

By chance, my few days in Kandy in Sri Lanka happened to coincide with the annual Esala Perahera: a spectacular 20-day period of nightly parades which get progressively grander each night, culminating in the Pattini Perahera.

On this final night, I watched almost a hundred elephants and more than 2,000 dancers and acrobats parade past the temple, with the ‘caparisoned’ elephants cloaked in richly embroidered fabrics. The highlight is the mammoth Maligawa Tusker, who carries the… Continue reading

Herons in Battersea Park: an RSPB Date With Nature

Battersea herons
Last weekend I braved the freezing cold to help out at the RSPB’s Date With Nature in Battersea Park. I used to run through the park frequently when training for a marathon last year but, like many of the joggers and strollers in the park, I rarely used to look up and see what was in the trees. Which is a real shame, since there is a thriving heronry of 20-30 herons nests sitting 30 metres off the… Continue reading

The Poseidon adventure: behind the scenes at Atlantis’s aquaria

Manta ray Poseidon

The gigantic Atlantis mega-resort in the Bahamas is not somewhere I’d normally choose to stay, but when I found myself there for a recent tourism conference, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how much conservation work is done by its team of marine experts.

Giant aquariums filled with fish, coral and sea mammals form an integral part of the resort, which is themed on the legend of the sunken city of Atlantis. I’m not sure I… Continue reading

A giant problem: whale sharks, shark fin soup and WildAid’s work to “stop the buying”

Branson swimming with a whale shark. Photo: Shawn Heinrichs, WildAid
Branson & whale shark. Photo: Shawn Heinrichs, WildAid

On a Virgin Atlantic trip to Cancun last week, I had the chance to fulfil a childhood dream of swimming with whale sharks – the largest fish in the ocean, growing up to 10-14 metres in length. I was concerned the tour might feel intrusive, but the Mexican guides on my boat were thoroughly responsible and considerate, following… Continue reading