If you are an animal lover and wish to experience a close-up encounter with some of the world´s most exotic species, we recommend you stay clear of zoos and visit instead some of these amazing sanctuaries and wildlife conservation centers.
In no particular order, here are 5 of our favorite:
1) Kazaringa National Park, Assam, India
This UNESCO World Heritage site, situated in the state of Assam, India, is home to the greatest population of one-horned rhinos; what´s more, in 2006 it was also declared a Tiger Reserve due to the high number of tigers that reside in this area. Elephants, leopards, jackals, native deer and wild water buffalo are some of the other residents that visitors can come across in this park. Possible activities include bird watching, and guided tours where staff members share information about the park and explain the importance of practicing responsible tourism.
2) Sea Lion Colony, Cabo Polonio, Uruguay
The largest sea lion colony in the world awaits you in Cabo Polonio, Uruguay! Aside from visiting underwater caves, going whale watching and spotting black dolphins, you can stop at the local lighthouse and observe hundreds of sea lions relaxing on the rocks – a unique and marvelous site that will make your jaw drop!
3) Jelly Fish Lake, Palau
About 800 km east of the Philippines, you can find Eil Malk, a Pacific island with a lake full of harmless jellyfish that make snorkeling and diving increasingly more fun! What’s so special about these golden blobs? It seems that habituating for thousands of years in a lake empty of predators has caused these jellies to evolve and lose their sting.
4) Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Over 30 different species of lemurs, representing 97% of Madagascar´s total population, cohabitate in this park. These, along with civets, mongooses and hundreds of species of exotic birds can be found in this national park. Visitors can go on one of the many regular guided tours held by the park hosts, and even rent a vacation home nearby if they wish to extend their visit.
5) Giraffe Center, Nairobi, Kenya
Located in Langata, Nairobi, this center is not only a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, it is also an education center for visitors. The main tourist attraction consists in stepping on a raised platform and observing or feeding the giraffes. Thanks to this sanctuary and their successful breeding program, the population of Rothschild giraffes has increased significantly.
Have you visited any of these wildlife sanctuaries? What other similar centers and parks have you seen?