Although the world’s continents have many fantastic locations offering the best wildlife viewing experiences, some of our planet’s islands are truly amazing. The islands with the best wildlife usually present something different to their nearest continental neighbors because an ocean not only separates them geographically, but ecologically too. The best places in the world to see wildlife quite often means seeing animals not see anywhere else other than these amazing islands. Here are 7 Best Islands for Viewing Wildlife:
The much smaller sister of Trinidad, Tobago is a beautiful Caribbean island. One of the most southerly islands it has an absolute wealth of wildlife on its pristine beaches and in its rainforests. Turtle Beach, as you might guess by its name is an amazing place to watch the turtle egg laying and hatching (although strictly controlled for conservation purposes) and the forests are home to amazing array of tropical birds.
This large island of the south east coast of Africa, is truly one of the world’s best islands for viewing wildlife. The magnificent geography and isolation from continents has resulted in an amazing eco-system that features wildlife found nowhere else on earth. This biodiversity hotspot is where you’ll find the whole range of species of lemurs, exotic plants and incredible birds. Certain orchids and six species of Baobab are only found on Madagascar and nowhere else. Of the 300 species of birds recorded, 60% are endemic to the island.
Phillip Island in Australia is not known as one of the greatest islands for viewing wildlife, but it has a very special claim to fame. It is home to a colony of Little penguins who have gained celebrity status thanks to being featured on a number of wildlife programs. They even had their own series in the UK. Each night as the sun goes down, they waddle about 100m up the beach to their nests in the dunes in what has become known as the Penguin Parade.
At the very top of the list of the best places in the world to see wildlife are the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. Famous as the inspiration for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the islands boast a year round calendar of amazing wildlife events. From January when the Green Sea turtles lay their eggs, May when the Blue Footed boobies begin their courtship, October when the Fur seals start mating, through to December when the eggs of the Giant tortoises start hatching, every month, there is something going on in the world of nature.
Lundy may just be an oversized granite rock measuring 3 miles long, but this island sticking out the middle of the Bristol Channel in the UK is the place for birdwatchers. The most famous residents is a very large colony of puffins but there are also birds of prey such as the magnificent Peregrine falcon. The waters around the island make up the only marine reserve in the country and are home to grey seals. This is one of the best wildlife viewing experiences in the UK.
The remote islands in the Bering Sea far off the coast of Alaska are the gathering place for a million Northern Fur seals who congregate to give birth and nurture their pups. The islands also present plenty of other wildlife viewing experiences – millions of seabirds call Pribilof home, including kittiwakes, cormorants, puffins, murres, parakeet and auklets. Other island inhabitants include reindeer, Arctic Blue foxes, sea lions and various species of whale.
No prizes for guessing this is an Australian island. It is the 3rd largest Aussie island and offers the best wildlife viewing experiences for the unusual animals native to this continent.
As well as the kangaroos, there are wallabies, koalas, wallabies, platypus, echidnas, sea lions, fur seals, cockatoos, pelicans, penguins, and goannas.
Plenty of other islands around the globe present wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities but the ones I’ve chosen are most known for being unique or special for particular or unique species. Where would you add?
Top Image Source: globalanimal.org
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