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Category Archive Mammals blog

Twitching a Spectacled Bear

Since 2019 I had not left Europa thanks to Covid, but in October 2021 I would finally travel a bit further away again! Sadly a trip to Asia did not go through because the country I was supposed to go to remained closed due to covid. So a month before I was supposed to go, I decided to change the destination to Ecuador and Bolivia. Ecuador mainly because I always had wanted to see a Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and Bolivia to add three much desired cats to my list: Jaguar (Panthera Onca), Jaguarundi (Hepailurus yagouaroundi) and Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis). First I went to Ecuador for two weeks.

Banded Civet


Civets belong to a group of mammals that I hadn’t seen before. They are sometimes called civetcat, but personally I don’t really see a cat in them. They are also known for the special coffee that is made by giving a civet a certain coffee berry to eat and the pit that is found afterwards in de civets poo would apparently make very tasty coffee… On Borneo a total of eight species occur and during my Borneo trip in October 2019 these animals were mostly a ‘bycatch’ while I was looking for cats. Since they are pretty cool mammals and I did manage to see five of the eight species, hereby a civetspecial!

Lobo del Rio!

During my time in South-America there was another mammal that was high on my wish list: Giant Otter! It’s the largest otter in the world and since hadn’t seen any other in my life ever, it seemed nice to start with this one. In Tambopata I finally got the chance. Because I was asked at the last minute to help guide around some German tourists (hadn’t thought I would speak so much German in South-America), I also got the chance to search for them at a good spot. An oxbow lake called Triastianbatis where they get regularly seen. Of course the tourists wanted to see them, but I could tag along!

Looking at monkeys in Tambopata

After Bolivia I went to Peru. First two weeks to a language school in Cuzco to learn Spanish and after that three weeks to the Tambopata park in order to see as many animals as possible. I went to volunteer for the organisation Fauna Forever. My goal was to see at least one species of cat, but sadly I did not succed. Fortunately there were many other beautiful mammals, for example the different species of primate in Tambopata!

Barba Azul: Blue-throated Macaws and so much more!

My South-America trip still contained a gap of two weeks. The plan was to travel four weeks in Chile first and about two weeks after that would be my first day on a language school in Cusco. So it would make a lot of sense to travel through Bolivia, new country, new experiences and new animals! Only I didn’t really have a clue of what I was going to do. Three weeks before I would go away to Chile I suddenly stumbled upon a page from Asociación Armonía, the Bolivian version of BirdLife. The page about Barba Azul looked very interesting and I noticed there was a possibility to stay there working as a volunteer. I was supposed to get in touch with Tjalle Boorsma, which is a very Dutch name! So I just sent an email in Dutch and also received a reply in Dutch. Fortunately it was possible for me to stay there as a volunteer. So after Chile it was on to Bolivia!


Wild camelids actually only occur in a few places in the world. If you think you can find them in the Middle-East or somewhere near the Sahara you’re wrong: those are all domesticated. Mongolia has the Wild Bactrian Camel, you’ll have to go to South-America to see the other two. Because I saw them a lot there, I wanted to give them some special attention.

An encounter with two South-American Gray Foxes

When it’s about mammals in combination with the park Torres del Paine the Puma’s are of course the absolute stars and rightly so! However when they worked out well for us, I was also very happy to encounter two South-American Gray Foxes one afternoon. These foxes are pretty common in Patagonia, but they still look fine! We had a good time with these beautiful foxes in nice evening light. Nice animals those South-American Gray Foxes!

Ungulates of Africa

Africa has many kinds of ungulates, ranging from the prehistoric like rhino’s to the tiny steenbok. That’s why I wanted to give them some special attention in a separate blog and give you an idea of the kinds of ungulates you could encounter in Africa, which I’ve indeed encountered during my trip through South-Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Elephants: fascinating beasts!

Before I went to Africa, elephants didn’t do much for me. Of course it’s a colossal animal with a trunk and tusks and that all points in its favour, but I just wasn’t feeling so excited about them. The first elephant I ever saw was a worn out female that was spending the last years of her life in Okavango. Pretty cool of course, to see your first elephant, but still it didn’t really change my mind about elephants. Till I saw them together.

Okavango by mokoro

The Okavango Delta is the largest delta in the world that is not connected to a sea and I was fortunate enough to visit a small part of it. The most obvious way of transport in such a watery area is of course a boat, but large areas of the Okavango are very shallow: about half a meter deep. That’s why local inhabitants have used hollowed out tree trunks, mokoro’s, for ages to be able to move around quickly in this swamp. Nowadays it’s mainly a tourist business and the mokoro’s are made of plastic, it all works still the same though! Two people sit together in a mokoro and on the stern stands a guy that keeps the whole thing going. The plan was to spend the night with our group in the Okavango. We would go there by mokoro and on the next morning we would do a bushwalk. Late in the afternoon we sailed into the Okavango and that was already a very nice experience in itself.