Heliconia rostrata inflorescence
- By I, KENPEI, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4250747
A bamboo pit viper (Trimeresurus gramineus) - By Thomas Brown - Flickr: Bamboo Pit Viper (Cryptelytrop albolabris), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15441775
The striking beauty of Australia is generally a surprise to most of us in the West, especially here in America. And why is that? It begins with much of what we have been taught in our schools when we were young. I know that I pictured it as a land full of kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, platypus and desert as I grew up. And although these can be found in Oz, it is SO much more. Australia is lined with beautiful, lush beaches and coastline, skirted by amazingly green bush and tropical rainforest, and has the most incredible array of plants and animals on the planet both in and out of the ocean. 80% of its plant, animals and reptiles are endemic to Australia. If someone bought me a one-way ticket to visit, I would go back and stay in a heartbeat.
I was able to take in a great deal more of the country than the average visitor, as my time in Australia totaled approximately nine months during my five visits. The song of a magpie was my first introduction to the wildlife of Australia upon awakening the first morning in the Blue Mountains. I have enjoyed watching other birds in the outback, in the bush, while visiting Daintree and in my friend’s yard. Most of these included the colorful rainbow lorikeet, the galah, the rosella, kookaburra, several types of cockatoos, magpie, whipbird, and bellbird. Animals native to Australian, the marsupials, include the wallaroo, bandicoot, quoll, the bilby, echidna. Native mammals include melomys and flying foxes. Australia is the only place in the world where you can find monotremes, (which are egg laying mammals), of which there are only two: the echidna and platypus. Another category, the reptile, I have had personal encounters with are the bearded dragon, the thorny devil, the gecko, and have seen many snakes and spiders. Unfortunately, because of deforestation of areas and human intervention, many of the species on the continent have either become extinct or are endangered. Some of those that can only be seen in photos include 3 types of emus, the paradise parrot, seven types of wallabys and the Tasmanian tiger along with various forms of wattle, orchids, and many others.
Much of the bush is filled with gum trees (eucalyptus) and paperbark trees (Melaleucas) and some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. My favorite includes the many varieties of protea, but others, such as the kangaroo paws, banksia, bottlebrush, wattle (The national flower) and the flannel flower are amazing as well.
Although Australia is a land of beauty, it is also a place of infinite danger. Australia has twenty-one of the twenty-five world’s most venomous snakes and ten of the most dangerous spiders on the planet. The oceans are no better with creatures like the stone fish, blue ringed octopus and the box jellies. Unless you know the ins and outs of the land that you are visiting and the waters that surround it, you cannot be too careful. Just as you would not swim alone in the Bonzai Turnpike regardless of how good a swimmer you were or walk through the desert without knowing the dangers, it would be unwise not to take someone with you who is familiar with the dangers of the bush. Going with a guide will help to avoid both anxiety and attacks and make your journey one filled only with great memories.
New South Wales
What was it that caught my attention as a traveler? When I first visited in 1988 I was amazed to see that Australia was a land of extreme contrasts. I lived in an area called Avoca Beach, just a short walk down to the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. This area lies on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where most of the people in Australia live. Here I became fascinated with both the land and its creatures and went on many bush walks with friends. A walk through the Bush can only be described in vibrant adjectives involving colors and sounds. On a morning walk, one can see the monochromatic green of the trees and bushes glisten as glints of sun poke through the canopy, while whipbirds and magpies serenade your every step and the chime of the bellbird (bell miner) echo throughout the bush on the wind. One must visit a rainforest or go on a bushwalk when one is visiting to experience the true majesty of this place.
This area also has many trees and plant life, including the paper bark tree, several species of eucalyptus trees, cabbage palm, gymea lily, acacia, old man banksia, waratah, billy buttons and flannel flowers. Although some of the most interesting and amusing still include the tawny frogmouth, superb lyrebird, and kookaburra, others include the Australian bush turkey, grey-headed flying fox, the short-beaked echidna and the Eastern blue tongued lizard.
Adelaide, the capital of this semi arid state, is one of the most cultured parts of Australia outside of Sydney, the Gold Coast and Melbourne. Adelaide and the surrounding area is world known for its wine, so it goes to follow that much of the surrounding area is filled with grapevines. Beside the acres of vineyards, acacia trees and bushes fill the land, along with, orchids, eucalyptus, emu bush, shaggy peas, banksia and hundreds of other types of plants.
Fauna that is found in this are includes several types of lorikeets, honey eaters, thornbills, emu-wrens, cormorants, petrels, albatross, grebes, parrots sealions and seals, kangaroo, platypus, wallabies, possum, koalas, dingos, bilby, and echidna.
Although I have never been there, Western Australia seems to have their fair share of endemic plants and animals as well. A few include the Carnaby’s cockatoo, Gilbert’s potoroo (A type of rat-kangaroo with the appearance of a bandicoot) chuditch or western quoll, and the Gould’s goanna. I could go on and on as the state has 12,000 species of wildflowers, trees and bushes including the marri, tingle, karri, jarrah and tuart tree, pages of acacia species, bells, and myrtles.
The Northern Territory
The Northern Territory of Australia is extremely unique as well, containing hundreds of amazing plants and animals, many of which are endemic to this area. It is a place of gorges, parks, crocodiles, swamps and ancient history and is quite hot. This state spans a width from Cape York on its east side to the Kimberly Ranges on its west. It is also the home of Kakadu National Park, a spectacular park similar to our Yellowstone in that it is a home to a wide array of plant and animal life and many geographical features, such as waterfalls and rock formations.
Although most tourists are out during the daylight hours, most of the 110 species of mammals in this area are not. The vast majority are nocturnal, so they will be hidden away from the average visitor. Birds in the area number over 450 species, of which the galah and the cockatoo I found to be the most visible. Not surprisingly, the Northern Territory contains 40 percent of all reptiles found in Australia, and if you are a fan of Mick Dundee of the movie Crocodile Dundee, you will know it is home to many fresh water fish as well, the barramundi being one of the largest. The top of Australia also is home to a significant number of marsupials, including variations on kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots, possums, and quolls. Some of the native species include the Arnhem rock-rat, the black wallaroo and the kakadu dunnart. Several of the snakes that you must watch out for in the area are the king brown, taipan, mulga and the death adder.
The Red Center is truly red-orange, but still full of animals and plantlife. Just like our desert, it is full of plants like the spinifax, mulga, the famous Sturt's desert pea, as well as orchids, acacia and has amazing places that are home to its wild creatures. I even saw a tree by the Olgas that was just getting started when Christ walked the earth! The Outback, contains animals such as the dingo, (a type of wild dog), numerous lizards, (frilled, thorny devils, bearded to name a few) many types of snakes, (brown, black, mamba) the shy wallaby, (a smaller version of the kangaroo), red and western grey kangaroos, the numbat and countless others.
Queensland is an area that is a cross between Florida, California and Hawaii. It has the beauty and the draw of California and the animals, plants and sea life of Florida and Hawaii. The state is very large, so it is no wonder that it is the most diverse state with 14,000 known native species of plants, fungi, lichens and algae and countless species of animals. Approximately 20 new species are being discovered and cataloged each year, so these numbers are always changing. For example, although the Tasmanian tiger is considered extinct, there have been reports of the carnivore seen in northern Queensland.
However, it is really in the Daintree that one feels like they have stepped into a parallel universe, as this area is filled with truly unique and amazing life. Some of the plants one might encounter in the bush are so strange that you will again need a guide to show you around so that you can avoid plants like the wait-a-while vine, stinging tree, and the tar tree. In the waters you will find there are seasons in which the box jellyfish, (a deadly jelly) infest the waters and need to be avoided at all costs.
Along with all of these dangers, there are amazing things to see. There are approximately 920 different types of trees in this area. The king fern immediately comes to mind. I felt as though I had stepped back into prehistoric time as the ferns unfurled above my head, as tall as houses. This ancient preserved rainforest, is home to orchids, bowenia, the cane toad (non endemic invasive), Boyd’s Forest dragon, native gingers, idiot fruit, the cheese tree, scrub breadfruit, cassowaries, kingfishers, skinks, and crocodiles. One can also find the largest tree frog in the world here, the giant White-lipped Tree Frog.
The state of Victoria connects New South Wales to South Australia with land filled full of vineyards and mountain ranges. Victoria is the smallest state in Australia but offers a mountain of plant and animal life. Not only are all the usuals found here, but also many species of honeyeaters, the wattlebird, wallaroo and wambat, the bilby, bats, sugar gliders, seals, bandicoot, koala, Phillip Island penguins, phascogale, froglets and toadlets, several varieties of treecreepers and thornbirds. Plants that cover the land include echalyptus, emu bush, shaggy peas, banksia and an amazing amount of orchids.
This is a place that is as much of an enigma as the rest of the country. Filled with deciduous and fir trees this state bears a striking resemblance to the states in the northeast portion of America. Although this might be true, the decidous beech or Fagus tree is the only native deciduous tree native to the continent. The most recognized animal from this part of the country is the Tasmanian devil, but others include the wombat, the Tasmanian platypus, the pademelon, dolphin, fairy penguin, southern right and humpback whale, pandani, eastern quolls, Tasmania purple star and the Huon pine, forest fingers, eucalyptus and orchids.
Australian National Parks
I thought that I would be able to post all of the national parks for each of these five countries, but learned quickly with Australia that I would stick with the top ten. So having said this, there are over 500 in Oz. I have taken my top 10 from Australian Geographic and as I have been to the first three of the ten, I can attest to the article that these are some of the best! The article, Gallery: The Best National Parks of Australia bears witness to each park's unique beauty in both pictorial and written description. http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/travel/destinations/2014/08/gallery-australias-best-national-parks/uluru-kata-tjuta
But if one of the following doesn’t interest you, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks_of_Australia and you are sure to find what you are looking for.
Bacuri, Platonia insignis - By Hellen Perrone - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3011346
The Red Panda - By Peter Meenen - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=858602
Golden lion tamarin - By Jeroen Kransen - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24931426
Marañon or Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) - Public Domain, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=223096
Crocodile cruise in the
Northern Territory -
Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Green iguana (Iguana iguana), the Pantanal, Brazil - By Charlesjsharp - Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org /w/index.php?curid=44179090
Koala in a local Australian zoo - Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Hippopotami - By Paul Maritz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=825233
The Large Flying Fox - Pteropus vampyrus - By Simon J. Tonge - http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?enlarge=0000 +0000+0113+0613, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26148094
The toucan - CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=132522
Snow leopard - By Vassil - Own work,
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia .org/w/index.php?curid=10762599
Takin - By J. Patrick Fischer - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=18123401
Puku Male - By Taken and submitted by Paul Maritz (paulmaz) - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by sevela.p., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=3551911
Senegal bushbaby - By OpenCage - http://opencage.info/pics/large_6393.asp, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1282841
Angalifu, male Northern White Rhinoceros - By Sheep81 - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4745820
Musanga cecropioides — African corkwood tree or umbrella tree - By FabMoustic - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11341051
A Plains Zebra - By Joachim Huber - DSC_1426, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4376863
Yellow-headed caracara - By Charlesjsharp - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.
Callistemon viminalis - By Zsolt Dudás - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1818354
Congo peacock - By Stavenn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1282156
Sparkling violetear - By Joseph
C Boone - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php curid=25209560
Male rufous-tailed jacamar, By I, MeegsC, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2314602
The common or native kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos manglesii) - By Gnangarra at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by jonny-mt., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3693087
Sea wasp jellyfish or Box Jellyfish (Chironex sp.) - By Avispa marina.jpg: Guido Gautsch, Toyota, Japanderivative work: Mithril (talk) - Avispa marina.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15374006
The jaguar - By en:User:Cburnett - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1284882
Australia tops the list in flora and fauna
Baird's tapir - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118089
Emu - By William Warby - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19785663
Brazil is one of the most beautiful places in the world for flora and fauna fanatics. It covers over 3.2 million square miles and is home to seven biomes. These regions include the Amazon Rainforest and Atlantic Forest, the Caatinga, the Cerrado, the Pantanal, the Pampa and the Brazilian Marine Bione. It is also home to 60% of the Amazon Rainforest and has the greatest biodiversity of any nation on planet Earth. Although numbers are constantly changing because of new discoveries and extinctions, Brazil currently has 55,000 known species of plants, over 3,000 freshwater fish, over 689 species of animals, 1832 birds, and 744 reptiles species. This number includes a high amount of endangered animals in threatened habitats because of constant poaching and deforestation. Although we, as humans, are beginning to see the need to move to sustainable resources, over one fifth of the rainforest has already been destroyed including almost 95% of the Atlantic Forest.
Brazil is home to the greatest number of mammals on the planet including wolves, several types of bush dogs and foxes, many types of cats, including the the puma, oncilla and ocelaot, jaguar and jaguarondi, and margay, and 77 species of primates. Some of the other mammals include the coati, tapir, peccaries, capybara, and several types of deer, armadillos and sloths. However, over 70 of these species of mammals are endangered.
Brazil has 191 native birds to its name and the Rufous-bellied trush is its national bird. The variety of birds is quite wide, and range from small hummingbirds, the well-known toucan, parrots and penguins to the rhea, which is the country’s largest bird.
The reptiles of Brazil are famous throughout the world, with the anaconda being the best known. Generally considered to be the biggest snake in the world, it’s size is contested by historical records and native Brazilian stories, ranging between 50 and 100 feet.
Fish in Brazilian waters are mostly found within the Amazon, the Sao Francisco River Basin and the Parana-Paraguay River Basins with an unusually high number of preditor fish, the most famous of which is the piranha. Brazil is also home to the world’s largest fish, named the pirarucu and the pink dolphin, the largest dolphin populating rivers of any country.
Brazil tops the list of countries with the most known plant species, of which 30% are native to Brazil. Throughout the country different varieties of the orchid can be found, including Cattleya and Oncidium. Brazil’s national tree and flowers are the Pau-Brasil (the Brazilwood) and the Cattleya Iabiata or corsage orchid. Some of the most well known are poinsettia, rubber tree, and the bromeliad. Many plants produce edible fruit, such as the banana plant (actually an herb) the Brazil nut tree, cocoa plant, the acai, the guarana, cupuaçu, coconut, ice-cream bean, guapava, and passionfruit plants. Many of the plants and trees have numerous medicinal purposes and are only recently being studied.
Because Brazil is a tropical country and many of its plants and animals hide out in the jungle, one should be aware of it’s many dangers. The Brazilian wandering spider is deadly, especially for children. There are jaguars and the red belly parana, which are known to eat humans when food is scarce, the electric eel, the South American rattle snake, the green anaconda, the poison dart frog, and many others that can inflict pain or eat away at one’s flesh. If you are new to the country, always take precaution and use a guide when traveling in the jungle.
Below you will find a listing of some of the top national parks in Brazil. For a full list, you can find them at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks_of_Brazil
Brazil's Top 10 National Parks
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country in the world in which bonobos are found in the wild. - Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=103254
Bulbophyllum biflorum - By rduta - originally posted to Flickr as Bulbophyllum biflorum, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5838564
Aechmea fasciata inflorescence - By Eurico Zimbres, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=614500
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Andean condor is the national bird of Colombia- CC BY-SA 2.5 es, https://commons .wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=719906
Sulpher crested cockitoos in the Whitsundays - Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Columbia is a land of immense diversity in both land and it’s plant and animal life. Although it only covers an area of 440,831 square miles, (Roughly the size of Connecticut) it comprises approximately 10% of all the flora and fauna species that exist in the entire planet. This country is the home to over 40,000 plant varieties and has the highest number of endemic species on the planet. Many of the well known include the encenillo tree, flor de Mayo orchid, pekea nut tree, marmalade bush, curuba quitena (banana passionfruit), soursop and feijoa (guvasteen)
The flor de Mayo Orchid (Cattleya trianae) is Columbia’s national flower, but because of the country’s rapid development, many of its natural habitats have been destroyed and it has been put on the endangered list. The wax palm or palma de Cera is the national tree towering 60 meters tall. Highly prized for its wax and other properties, it has become endangered because of overharvesting. Now it is a protected species. The marmalade bush is a flowering bush also native to Columbia. Its flowers, which bloom yellow to dark orange year round, are famous for attracting butterflies and birds.
Columbia has almost 2000 species of birds, which is the most diverse native bird population in the world. This number includes the Andean condor, the largest bird in the world and 70 of these can only be found within the country of Columbia itself. The condor is the national bird, with a wingspan up to 10. 6 inches. Some of the other birds include: toucans, parrots and other nectar eating birds, the quetzal of Aztec Quetzalcoatl (plumed serpent-god), and many types of warblers.
This country also has the greatest number of amphibians in the world, of which 200 species are in danger of extinction. It also has 115 endemic species of retiles.
Mammals of the Colombia jungle include the three-striped night monkey, the spectacled bear (similar to the giant panda), the black-mantled tamarin and coppery titi, (primate) the jaguarondi (small wild cat) and southern tamandua (a type of anteater). Approximately fifty percent of 465 species of mammals in Columbia are endangered, mostly due to deforestation of the rainforest.
Below you will find a listing of some of the top national parks in Columbia. For a full list, you can find them at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks_of_Colombia
Columbia's National Parks
Regal Lily - By Philipp Weigell - picture taken by Philipp Weigell, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15834635
Eugenia1 - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52017
Annona senegalensis,(African Custard Apple) By Ton Rulkens, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21958226
Male Northeast Congo lion in Murchison Falls - By Dror Feitelson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=20591922
An adult female masai giraffe - By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen - Own work, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22856606
Andean cock-of-the-rock - By chdwckvnstrsslhm - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia .org/w/index.php?curid=1129546
Passiflora citrina - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=644507
Asian elephant - By Fir0002 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1391215
An Okapi - By Raul654 - Own work, CC
BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=47647
Himalayan blue sheep or bharal
By Jan Reurink from Netherlands - Bharal, Himalayan blue sheepUploaded by Smokestack Basilisk, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6464024
Purple heron in KabiniBy Yathin
S Krishnappa - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons .wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21376476
Jaguarundi - Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119603
Arazá or Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) - By Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0, https:// commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=3440825
Orange Passion Flower - By tanakawho - Original version available on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1152135
Panda - Stock photo
Açaí-palme (Euterpe oleracea) (Cropped) - By User:Arouck - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=143750
Indigofera gerardiana: Leaves and flowers - By Sten Porse - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=544310
Female Sydney funnel-web spider (A. robustus) in warning postureBy Tirin at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-
SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Lycium barbarum, Wolfberry (枸杞子) - By Paul Gross (paul144) and Richard Zhang - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1436624
The Arrayan was sacred to the precolumbian people - By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons. wikimedia .org/w/index.php?curid=26227
Flamboyant (Delonix regia), als Alleebaum - By Stephen Lea - first upload en.wikipedia 06:25, 12 June 2004 by Seglea as en:Image:RoyalPoinciana.jpg (150563 bytes) (Royal Poinciana in the courtyard of Santo Domingo, Oaxaca), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=234905
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus in Victoria, Australia - By User:Fir0002 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7175042
The thorny dragon or thorny devil (Moloch horridus) Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Arboreal alligator lizard - By Photo (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) - Self-photographed, GFDL 1.2, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1612539
A common rhea - By Neıl ☎ - self-made, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16354976
A male Japalura tree dragon - By Alfeus Liman, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia .org/w/index.php?curid=15124051
Platypus - By Stefan Kraft - Selbst fotografiert am 20.9.2004 im Sydney Aquarium., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=657498
Jacana (Jesus Bird) in the Yellow Waters -
Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Western Green Mamba,
Dendroaspis viridis, (Cropped) - By Patrick Coin (Patrick Coin) - Photograph taken by Patrick Coin, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=738275
Channel-billed toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) - By Flickr User Roy & Danielle - , CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.
Pirarucu, (Arapaima gigas) is the largest fresh -water fish in the world - CC BY-SA 2.5, https:// commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1342715
Young epicrates cenchria cenchria (Cropped) - By Angela Rothermann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1038481
Piranha - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=453180
The snub-nosed monkey, By Eva Hejda http://fotos.naturspot.de/, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=239671
Three-toed-sloth (Bradypus variegatus),By Stefan Laube (Tauchgurke) - Own work (Stefan Laube)Originally uploaded at de.wikipedia.org: 2004-10-02 02:26 by Tauchgurke (658235 Byte) (Dreizehenfaultier (Bradypus infuscatus), Gatunsee, Republik Panama), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61433
Cattleya aclandiae, the "Lady Ackland's cattleya" - By Orchi - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1044230
A path between some bamboo - By JesseW900 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37731652
Red winged cockatoos in the Outback near Alice Spings
Photo by Vicki Kralapp
The orange-breasted sunbird (Nectarinia violacea) - By Didier B (Sam67fr) - Own
work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1097172
A Tasmanian devil - By JJ Harrison (email@example.com) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12262604
Lesser mouse-deer - By Uspn (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen). - Own work; ., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.
Kookaburra behind my house at Avoca Beach - Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Pygmy marmosets - By I, Zbikun, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=2448232
Bactrian camels - -By Аркадий Зарубин - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/
A pair of Congo Peafowl - By frank wouters - originally posted to Flickr as verleiding, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7119839
Kangaroos in the Whitsundays - Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Plum blossom (梅花) - By wang leon from Nanjing, China - 0603mr21, CC BY-SA 2.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/
A young female of White-fronted Capuchi Monkey (Cebus albifrons) - By Photo by Whaldener Endo (Edit: Noise reduction and sharpening by User:Diliff. - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3351620
Macrocarpaea calophylla - Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8018645
François' langurs- By Ltshears - Own work,
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons. wikimedia. org/w/index.php?curid=10846416
Princess flower - Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6335473
Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) - By Melburnian - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1113638
The pink dolphin of the Amazon River - By Stefanie Triltsch (de:Benutzer: Nixvonliebe) - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1973156
African forest elephant - By dsg-photo.com - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30106497
Tamandua tetradactyla - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons. wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1026456
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is an area of staggering biodiversity. The Congo Basin, which spreads out over several nations, contains the second largest rainforest in the world next to the South American Amazon, and covers more than 1.5 million square miles, 515,000 of which are in the country of Congo itself. The Congo rainforest is made up of the Western and Eastern Congolian Swamp Forest. Together they form the largest continuous fresh water swamp forest in the world. Many waterways including the Congo River and Lake Tanganyika are also included in this group. This ecosystem contains over 12,000 species of plants and animals, 3000 of which can be found nowhere else. Congo is the only place on planet Earth that has the amount of animal life with the size of giants. Unfortunately, the forests have become a refuge for many of the animals living here because of deforestation and poaching and many are extremely endangered. (There is even talk of moving some elephants to Australia in an attempt to save the species.)
Within this country, there are 450 species of mammals, a great number of which are primates. One can see the four types of great apes here: the Western and Eastern Gorilla, as well as the Western and Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Most of the approximately 4,000 left live within the boundaries of Virunga National Park. Other primates include the chimpanzee, the bonobo and a whole host of monkey species. Carnivores of the Congo include the famous felines: the African golden cat and African leopard, as well as crocodiles, otters, civets and the mongoose.
But the true focal point of the Congo are those animals that most of us only get to see in zoos or game preserves, the true giants of our planets: the African forest elephant, the hippo, giraffe and forest buffalo. There are also several varieties of antelope and wild pig one can see, as well as the okapi (of which there are estimated to be only 10,000 to 20,000 left in the wild) and the pigmy hippo.
The Congo Basin rainforest is also the home of 1,150 species of birds, 300 species of reptiles and 200 types of amphibians. The birds here range from the hornbill to the African crowned eagle. Others include the Rudder’s Forest robin, the Congo peacock, Bedford’s paradise-flycatcher and Prigogines greenbul. Amphibians include the Kivu screeching, the Itombwe golden and the Gembe reed frog. Reptiles include the Upemba Bush and gaboon viper, the rough-scaled, Marungu girdled and worm lizards and the circular-scaled chameleon. Fresh water indigenous fish include an amphiilid catfish, the Congo squeaker, the striped fin-eater and several types killifish.
The butterflies in this part of the world are beautiful as well and represent the color and adventure of the Congo. Here you can see the citrus swallowtail, the flame-bordered emperor, the African snout butterfly, the danaid eggfly, the forest leopard and various milkweed species. Plants that attract these beauties are the cycads, narrow heart love grass (Eragrostis racemosa), Faroa malaissei P. Bamps, Porcupine Flower, (Barleria prionitis) and countless orchids.
Below you will find a listing of some of the top national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For a full list, you can find them at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:National_parks_of_the_Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo
Congo's Top 10 National Parks
China is one of the countries with the greatest diversity of wildlife in the world. One of the more than 100 species of animals unique to China is the giant panda and is extremely rare. There are just over 1,500 left at the present time because their habitat is being destroyed. They are also the Chinese symbol and national treasure. Some of the others include the South China tiger, Tibetan antelope or chiru the Chinese mountain cat, the Tibetan macaque, golden monkey and the Yangtze River dolphin (one of the only fresh water dolphins in the world). Three types of golden monkeys also exist in China, but are rare.
Reptiles within the Chinese republic include the Chinese alligator and Chinese crocodile lizard, several type of snakes including the Tibetan spring snake, Mangshan viper and Likiang pitviper. Other reptiles include the splendid japalure, the Hongyuan toad-headed agama and Swinhoe's gecko. Endemic amphibians include the Chinhai spiny newt, the Shangcheng stout salamander, several varieties of toads, the Fujian frog and The Chinese giant salamander, which is the largest amphibian in the world.
Sports fishermen will be happy to know there are a great deal of fish that can be pulled from the waters in and around China. Some of these include the pomfret, tuna, sturgeon, salmon, and cod. Fish enthusiasts will also want to know about China's native fish. These include the slender mandarinfish, the Chinese high fin sucker, the Chinese paddlefish.
If you are a bird lover, China has a diverse array of those as well. Some birds endemic to China are the red ibis, red-crowned crane, (a large 5 foot tall bird) the giant laughing thrush, Reeves’s pheasant, the Sichuan jay, the Tibetan babax, the Chinese grouse, and the Rusty-throated parrotbill.
Those who truly love the butterfly, some of the endemics to China are the three-tailed Bhutan glory, Tibet marbled satyr, the Chinese gifu butterfly, and the Tibet blackvein. They are all attracted to the beauty and nectar of the flowers found here.
China’s flora is truly spectacular with many delicate species of tries and flowers. Some of its trees include the Fujian, Chinese, and Yunnan cypresses, several species of fir, the dove or handkerchief tree, the gutta-percha and happy trees, the dawn redwood and golden larch. The hardy rubber tree and the metasequoia are rare trees native to China. The rubber tree is now extinct in the wild and the metasequoia was once thought to be but has been found in a small area in the wild. Like the Amazon Rainforest, the numerous plants of China have various uses, many for medicinal purposes. Some of the best known are Tienchi ginseng, goji or Chinese wolfberry, ginger, the mushroom, astragalus, licorice root, dang gui, Coptis Chinensis, Bupleurum, ginkgo biloba and Ephedra Sinica.
Flowers endemic to China include various orchids, the regal lily, and over 400 species of rhododendron. However, there are many that are familiar to many around the world. These flowers include plum blossom, the chrysanthemum, Chinese orchid, azaleas, the lotus blossom, the China rose, peony and narcissus.
Below you will find a listing of some of the top national parks in China. For a full list, you can find them at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_parks_of_China
China's top 10 National Parks
New South Wales Waratah Telopea speciosissima inflorescence - By Casliber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9506638
Bearded dragon, (Pogona barbata)
Photo by Vicki Kralapp
Columbian Wooly Monkey - Lagothrix lagotricha (mono lanudo) -By T-34-85 - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19457992
Orthophytum amoenum - BROMELIACEAE - By João Medeiros - Orthophytum amoenum, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15104082
Yak - By Kalabaha1969 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32545345
Macrocarpaea apparata - CC BY-SA 3.0,https://en.wikipedia.org/ w/index.php?curid=4607349
Yellow-banded poison dart frog - By No machine-readable author provided. Arpingstone assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=618424
SOME OF THE BEST COUNTRIES TO SEE ANIMAL AND PLANT LIFE ON THE PLANET...
Palm in Daintree
Photo by Vicki Kralapp