WILDLIFE

Our wildlife on earth...

As a 10 year old kid it was without question the Life on Earth series on BBC1 in 1979 that confirmed my love of wildlife and the natural world. Since that incredible ground breaking series I have always sought to care for and cherish every living thing on this planet.
 
Whilst I have yet to bask in a central African jungle with mountain gorillas like David Attenborough or witness the migration on Africas plains, I have had experiences that I will always cherish.

Here I aim to showcase some of those special wildlife moments as well as the photos and the stories behind them.
 

Pinnawella Elephant Ophanage, Sri Lanka - 2001

Back in 2001 I was working for a tour operator called Holiday Options and we launched a programme of holidays to some Tropical Islands of the World.

During those days I got the opportunity to visit the Maldives and Sri Lanka on a two centre familiarisation trip which of course was magnificent having never been to either country before.

The highlight of the trip was not the glorious beaches of the Maldives but this visit to Pinnawella Elephant orphanage where you can witness the incredible work the locals are doing to maintain and grow a healthy population of this magnificent mammal.

I stayed in the nearby Kandalama Hotel which at the time was one of the most eco friendly resorts in the world. I always remember having a shower and looking to my left where a monkey was sat watching me through the window…. quite a sight….for me not him !!

Elephant, Wildlife, Sri Lanka

Triglav National Park, Slovenia - 2013

I love a road trip and one of my favourites in Europe is from Ljubljana all the way up to the Vrsic pass and then down along the Sava river to the Adriatic coast.
 
I last took this journey back in 2013. It was when I pulled over at one of the many tremendous viewpoints in the heart of the Triglav National Park and while sat minding my own business I was joined by this little fella.
 
Actually I don’t know to this day what he is – a salamander, a lizard, a type of Gecko ? If someone would tell me as I would love to know.
 
Giving his “warning” markings I was careful not to touch him but i wanted to get an idea of size so with him so inquisitive I got him to climb on to the IPAD.
 
It wasn’t till I started unearthing the images that I realised how much it looks like he is just having a read and of course how it ties in nicely with my new review for Slovenia….
 
A fun rather unexpected moment during a magical road trip that I recommend you all do at least once in your life – oh and if you see my mate say hi !!
 
 
Julian Alps, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

La Vanille Nature Reserve, Mauritius 2015

One of the many stars of the Mauritius wildlife scene is the Giant Tortoise although these beasts actually originate from the Seychelles.

Everytime I hosted a trip to Mauritius I always liked to visit La Vanille Nature reserve to witness the conservation and breeding programmes of this amazing animal.

If you are very lucky as I was on one occasion, I was able to hold a giant tortoise egg as it was hatching – a wonderful experience especially when you consider the fact that this little animal will outlive me and roam the planet for well over 100 years

The nature park has now taken on a new project with the Ebony Forest – an area covering 50 hectares of native Mauritian forest where the island’s rare and endangered flora and fauna can find sanctuary.

Wildlife, La Vanille, Mauritius

Praslin, Seychelles - 2018

In 2018 I had the opportunity with Beachcomber Tours to visit the islands of the Seychelles.

The island of Praslin was a firm favourite due in part to the World Heritage site that is the Vallee de Mai ancient forest.

Early one morning before breakfast I headed off to a secluded beach at the Constance Lemuria hotel and while hoping to spot some early morning sea life I instead stumbled upon a couple of enormous land crabs as well as a nest of these critters!

Spiders are not often peoples favourite creature but I find them fascinating and in particular these Seychelles “Palm” spiders whom I had to get up close and personal with in order to take this photo.

Not sure how many of you would be happy with one of these in the palm of your hand !

Wildlife, Spider, Seychelles

Mahe, Seychelles - 2018

With the dreadful spread of Covid 19 in 2020 the dear old bat has taken a bit of a bashing in the media.

Both in the Seychelles and in Mauritius I find watching these beautiful animals fascinating particularly at dusk when they come out to feed.

Like birds, these fruit bats play a critical role in spreading the seeds of trees and other plants. Many also carry the seeds inside them as they digest the fruit, then excrete the seeds far away from the original tree.

I particularly like this photo that I took…. they look pretty cute don’t you think ?

Fruit bat, Seychelles

Snow Monkeys of Japan - Oct 2019

When I knew I was going to Japan probably the first thing I did was check where and when I could go and visit the snow monkeys !

Thankfully there are a number of different locations and one on my route was at Iwatayama, a small mountain that has a monkey park, which is located in the Arashiyama district west of Kyoto.

I took this picture of this gorgeous male watching over his hareem.

An amazing experience to see them in the wild although let it be said they were attracted in to a feeding area for tourist purposes. Not ideal but they were wild and judging by the fun and games they were having – happy !

Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan, Asia

Albino Squirrel, Haywards Heath, Sussex, UK - 2020

During the Covid 19 crisis in 2020 I was staying with my father in Haywards Heath in Sussex and at this time the days were so much more enjoyable when we were joined by this beautiful and very naughty Albino squirrel.
 
I guess it shows you that you dont have to travel far to witness some amazing and unique wildlife. Along with his troupe of five grey squirrels they were regular visitors to the garden.
 
He even gained quite a following as I wrote about his exploits during long days of being furloughed.

As a further update to this post its now been discovered that he is actually a she….. to be honest she is far too beautiful to be a boy !!


Albino Squirrel, Sussex, UK
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