I have never been to a zoo in my entire life which leads to my limited knowledge about wildlife that I vaguely remember from school books. Even though there was a famous zoo in Delhi near my hometown where I spent my entire childhood and in Mysore near Bangalore, where I worked for five years but it just never happened. I was probably waiting for 2018 to happen when we witnessed the amazing beauty of wildlife in their natural habitat.
Thanks to the well preserved National Parks of the USA and our trip to Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador to provide a great wildlife experience and make me use my zoom lens in a better way.
Grizzly Bear – Denali National Park, Alaska
This was our first wildlife experience of 2018 when we hopped on a bus to explore Denali National Park. The way everyone respected the space of wildlife is also amazing. I remember when our driver stopped the bus, everyone communicated in the sign language silently clicking pictures to avoid any disturbance to the Bear.
Moose – Denali NP, Alaska and Rocky Mountain NP, Colorado
Moose, biggest member of the deer family is truly amazing especially the male members with their big antlers (horns).
“The guy who has the biggest set of antlers and can show them off to potential girlfriends will be the fortunate individual who does the breeding,” says Vince Crichton, retired wildlife biologist and moose expert.
After breeding season, they shed off the antlers, priorities are sorted among these guys. You can find big antlers outside museums or gift shops for photo ops in and around Denali National Park.
Red Fox and Family – Denali NP, Alaska
It was super fun to track these guys as they move very fast and it took me several failed attempts to get one sharp picture of all of them.
Elk – Rocky Mountain National Park
This picture is from our last day in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado when we encountered more than fifty elks on the roadside. Out of several other pictures which I clicked this one is my favorite.
Seal – Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
I saw a seal for the first time in Chicago Aquarium in 2018, actively following the instructions of a trainer but then we saw seals during our day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park in their natural habitat doing nothing. I envy them as you will always find them chilling out at the rocks taking sunbath.
Elephant Seal – California Pacific Coast
This one is from an amazing location on our 10 days long pacific coast roadtrip from Seattle. Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is located 90 miles south of Monterey and nearest landmark is Hearst Castle State Historical Monument.
Whale – Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
I remember we paid 90 euro per person in the island of Azores, Portugal for whale watching tour in 2017. We couldn’t see any whale even after trying our luck for three hours and came back with disappointment. This year in 2018, we saw a whale at 10 m distance from our ship in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.
Bison – Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the home to the largest mammal in the North America, Bison. I believe after its geysers and hot spring, Yellowstone is famous for Bisons and you don’t have to put any efforts to find them like other wildlife as they are everywhere. According to official website, there are around 5000 Bisons in the park.
Snakes – Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador
We spent 4 nights in Amazon Jungles of Ecuador and had an amazing experience with great biodiversity around. We were not as lucky to find an Anaconda but we found this Constrictor Boa from Anaconda family having his early morning breakfast.
Turtles – Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador
They are everywhere along the river and one of the most shy species around, as they immediately jump into the water when you will come closer.
Caiman – Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador
One night, we went for a hike in the jungle to see spiders and insects which was a thrilling as well scary experience and another night, we went on a boat to find Caimans in the water. We started rowing in the dark and following our guide’s instructions, when we saw these shiny eyes floating in the water.
Guanaco – Patagonia, Argentina
Guanaco, camelid native to South America commonly called as Wanaku among locals. He belongs to the family of llama.
Quirquincho – Patagonia, Argentina
We found this by chance on our way to El Chalten, Patagonia through famous Route 40.
Along with these amazing animals that we encountered in 2018, there is another list of amazing birds we found in Alaska and Amazon Rainforest which will come in second part of our Wildlife Experience series.
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