There are few experiences that compare to witnessing wild animals in their natural habitat. Up-close encounters like observing a group of lion cubs on a game drive through Africa or spotting a larger than life grizzly bear in the Alaskan wilderness are sure to create lasting memories. The opportunities to witness a destination’s native species are unlimited when you travel with the JG Black Book Collection. We’ve put together a list of the top exotic wildlife you can spot around the globe when you travel with our Collection Members.
The chance to spy exotic wildlife is one of many reasons the Laikipia Plateau is a favorite of Micato Safaris East Africa guests. Grand and gorgeous, Laikipia’s landscapes are home to some of East Africa’s most exotic and endangered species, including Grevy’s zebras and wild dogs, as well as the Big Five – lions, Cape buffalos, elephants, rhinos, and leopards. The most elusive and difficult to find of the bunch is the leopard, but if you’ve been reading the news lately you may have heard that there was a sighting of the even more rare African Black Leopard. While there’s no guarantee, of course, that the casual safari-goer will be so lucky as to spot the black leopard, but they can rest assured that they’ll have luck spotting all the other magnificent wildlife that East Africa has to offer.
During your family’s Global CommUnity summer Iceland experience, opt into whale watching near Reykjavik! You’ll venture out to the open seas off the shore of Reykjavik and spend a few hours searching for Humpback whales, Minke whales, Blue whales and Dolphins that call Iceland their home for the summer.
The turquoise waters that surround the islands of Mozambique are teeming with some of the strangest and most unique creatures you will ever set your eyes on. At Azura Benguerra Island, a few guests have been fortunate enough to spot the elusive dugong. Similar to a manatee or a walrus, dugongs are commonly referred to as ‘sea cows’ because of the way they spend their days grazing on seagrass. Bird watchers will love spending time at Azura Quilalea Private Island, home to some 134 species of birds. Of those, the Olive Bee-Eater is one of the most exotic. Every September, around 10-60 breeding pairs arrive on the island from Northern Zimbabwe and set about making their nests in the protected sandy area in the middle of the island. They fill the air with a trilling sound which lasts until their eggs hatch and they are ready to leave for Zimbabwe again at the start of December.
Migrating to Bhutan from late October to early March, the Black-necked Crane is one of Bhutan’s most exotic and sacred wildlife species. A nationally protected area for the cranes, Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley holds a festival each year in honor of the arrival of these ‘birds of fortune’. Guests who arrive a few days prior to the festival can enjoy watching festival rehearsals from the monks and the students of the nearby monastery. Guests may also be lucky enough to see a Bhutanese Red Fox (although they are very shy) along one of the walking trails around Gangtey Lodge. Small numbers of snow leopards also inhabit the frozen mountains of Bhutan, however, they are rarely seen, hence the name coined by the locals, ‘Ghosts of the Mountains.’
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
In the heart of the Alaska wilderness and 60 miles from the nearest road, the remote Tordrillo Mountain Lodge provides the perfect jumping off point to explore and encounter the wild animals found there. In the summer, larger-than-life grizzly, black and Kodiac bears feed, take care of young and rule the rugged terrain. Moose are also a common occurrence and easy to spot from high above in a hovering helicopter. The lodge itself sits on the shores of Judd Lake, part of a waterway that tens of thousands of salmon make their way through every year. For an immersive summer wildlife experience, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge delivers.
Elewana Collection is excited to announce that cameras in and around the Loisaba Conservancy have captured rare footage of melanistic leopards, otherwise known as black panthers! Guests staying at Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp and Elewana Loisaba Star Beds may be lucky enough to spot this rare and beautiful leopard and also learn about the cutting-edge conservation efforts in the area. Researchers from San Diego Zoo Global have been using camera traps at Loisaba Conservancy and neighboring properties in order to understand population dynamics of leopards and the mechanisms that drive human-wildlife conflict. Most of the wildlife in Kenya lives outside of government parks and reserves, so it is critical to work with communities that are sharing land and resources with the wildlife that we want to protect. In June 2017, a partnership between San Diego Zoo Global and Loisaba Conservancy was set up to conduct social and ecological research on the local leopard population in and around Loisaba to better understand the ways that people are interacting with and perceiving them.
“Regionally we’ve heard reports of black leopards living here in Kenya, but high-quality footage or imagery to support these observations has always been missing,” said Nicholas Pilfold, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Global scientist. “That’s what we’ve provided here with our cameras, and now we’re able to confirm what has been long suspected about black leopards living in Laikipia County. Black Panthers are uncommon, only about 11% of leopards globally are black. But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare. Our new paper confirms black leopards living in Laikipia County, Kenya, and our observations in the paper are collectively the first confirmed cases in Africa in nearly 100 years. It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now.”