Tag Archives: Wildlife

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

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

Greentraveller.co.uk: my New Forest blogs

Blogs from my recent trip to the New Forest are now live on Greentraveller.co.uk, as part of an in-depth guide to sustainable tourism in the New Forest district:

Anthony Climpson, New Forest District Council

A Q&A with Anthony Climpson OBE, tourism manager of the New Forest

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Canoeing_on_Beaulieu_River

Canoeing in the New Forest

Work harder/drink lager: birding in South Africa

white fronted bee-eater, Kruger National Park
White-fronted Bee-eater

Leading on from my first blog on South Africa, here are the birding highlights of my recent trip with Eco Training. The Mukaleke concession has some of the best bird life in the whole Kruger National Park, and I was lucky enough to see and learn about all of the following (click each image for a larger pic):

Blacksmith Lapwing – which makes a noise like the… Continue reading

Man vs beast: reconciling community and conservation in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elders of the Makuleke communityI’ve just got back from an incredible trip to South Africa, where I spent a week at a safari guide-training facility in the northern-most tip of the Kruger National Park. Eco Training is South Africa’s leading training provider for safari guides, and has trained more than 3,000 guides in southern Africa and beyond.

It has three camps in South Africa, but what makes the camp I visited at Makuleke special is that it’s within a unique part… Continue reading