When thinking about travelling and discovering new places to go I often think about what kinds of landscapes I’d like to see, and what cultures I’d like to experience. Often I’ll just tie this in without thinking to the local wildlife and plants. However it’s quite rare that I ever really sit down and think about the myriad of different species we have on Earth and what I’d really like to see. Of course, you can see plenty in a zoo but that just can’t beat seeing the animal in its natural habitat. I thought I’d run through some animals and plants I’d like to see naturally on my travels, and give some tips as to the best places to spot them if you’re interested too.
The largest animal that has ever lived is the blue whale. While not as numerous as they once were the whaling ban has certainly helped their cause and they can be seen in a number of locations around the globe.
A great place to catch a glimpse of these awe-inspiring animals is just off the coast of Los Angeles around the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. Growing up to 110ft in length you’ll be able to see them from the deck of boats which you can buy rides on around the area. You’ll not only see Blue Whales but the range of other whales and dolphins that populate the area, so if you’d like to see some of the most impressive marine life you can then I’d certainly think about hiring a boat trip out there.
Another majestic sea creature is the giant leatherback turtle. You’ll be hard pushed to spot a wild one as they live out in the open ocean. However, the females return to land in order to lay their eggs and this is generally the best time to spot one.
Good places to see the females as they crawl ashore are beaches in Papua, Idonesia and the Solomon Islands, they’re also known to forage for food off the coast of Oregon in the USA so that might be a good place to try and spot one from a boat. Growing up to nine feet long and capable of swimming at speeds of up to 35km/h they’re certainly one of the most interesting creatures in the sea and something I would definitely love to see at some stage.
Next is an animal that I’m sure will be familiar to residents of the USA. The bald eagle can be found across North America and Canada and has enjoyed a resurgence in numbers in recent years. In 2007 the bird was taken off the endangered animals list and classified under ‘least concern’.
It is certainly one of the most striking birds of prey and one with really distinctive markings. They’re best spotted in coastal areas and around large lakes and bodies of water as their preferred diet is fish.
Completing my list is the tree with the largest volume of any living organism on the planet, the General Sherman tree in Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in the USA.
Believed to be over 2,300 years old the giant tree makes for a spectacular sight. In 2006 one of its lower branches fell off, and was found out to be bigger than most regular trees. Trees like this don’t exist in the UK and it is definitely something I’d like to head over to the USA to go and see for myself.
There are of course, countless animals and plants I’d like to see and these are just the first few that came to mind. Perhaps you’ve seen them for yourself? If so then let us know what they were like.