7 Stunning animals for any aspiring wildlife photographer (and where to find them!)
1. White Lion
A rare colour mutation in the Southern African Lion has lead to the rare and beautiful white lion. Fortunately, the colour doesn’t seem to impede their survival in an evolutionary sense but – as is so often true – human intervention and hunting have seen their numbers drop. Because of their beauty and rarity, the lions were prized as captives in zoos and circuses. No white lion has been seen in its original natural habitat, the Timbavati region of South Africa, since 1994. The Global White Lion Protection Trust (WLT) launched a move to re-establish them in this area in 2004 and so far lions released into the wild seem to be successful at integrating into prides and surviving.
See them here: White Lion Conservation, South Africa
2. Glasswinged Butterfly
The migratory glass-winged butterfly can be found in Central America, from Mexico through to Panama and even in Florida. However, even if they are around, you will have to keep a good eye out for this creature because they are half see-through! Their clear, glass-like wings help them blend into their environment, especially while feeding. When you do spot one, their delicately outlined wings are incredible!
3. The Panther Chameleon
The most colourful reptile in the world, the panther chameleon is another creature that might be hard to spot, but well worth the effort! It is the larger males that exhibit stunning colours, with different patterns found in different areas of Madagascar. Another amazing fact about them is that they have incredibly long tongues – sometimes longer than their own body!
Wow did we have a struggle narrowing down the most beautiful birds…from Costa Rica’s Quetzal to the Victoria Crown Pigeon, the world is full of stunning plumage. Here, we have two stunning hummingbirds but there are so many others we could have chosen.
The Fiery-Throated Hummingbird is found in Costa Rica’s mountains and western Panama. Check out trips to Costa Rica here for a chance to see this and the Quetzal!
Reaching a length of only about 3.5 inches fully grown, the Costa’s Hummingbird isn’t the most immediately and obviously spectacular but we adore the way its elegant soft brown-grey is specked with incredible magenta iridescence! They can be found in hot desert regions of North America such as California and Arizona.
Padding quietly across new-fallen snow, wolves will remind you exactly where our friendly pups came from, but also show you how very different they are from domestic dogs! Wolves are iconic for a reason. The closeness of dogs to humans and the contrast you see in the utterly wild majesty of a wolf might be why these creatures came to signify everything wild and untameable: a flipside to humans in tales of werewolves. Seeing them in the wild with a guide is a wonderful and unforgettable experience.
A goat may be something of a surprising choice, but the Markhor goat is anything but average. The creatures are also known as screw horn goats for their fantastic corkscrew horns. They seem to be wearing crowns or dramatic headdresses, and seeing one staring out from a mountain crag, you will realise exactly why they are on this list! The markhor can be found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern and central Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, southern Tajikistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and in the Himalayas.
7. Snow Leopards
If you do decide to see Markhors, you may just get a chance to photograph the final creature on this list as well. Rare, and utterly beautiful, the snow leopard as a photographer’s subject may be familiar to anyone who knows ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. We don’t think you’ll have to work quite so hard as Walter to see one, but even if you did, it would be well worth it!