Last week marked rather a momentous power shift for the animal kingdom on the Galapagos Islands, when the archipelago’s great patriarch and world’s favourite tortoise retreated for the last time into his shell. At just over 100, Lonesome George may have been blessed with a good innings on human terms, but for a tortoise he was still a spring chicken, with many of his shelled compadres living closer to 200. As the only remaining member of his subspecies, George failed to find a mate which goes to show, that perhaps love is really all you need. Always waiting for an excuse to jump off into the wilderness on the hunt for the extraordinary, Dehouche select the species to visit in Latin America while you still have time.
Golden Lion Tamarin– Curvaceous, with luscious blond locks and long nails, the Golden Lion Tamarin is the Gisele of the monkey world. While most of the monkeys in the Atlantic forest surrounding Rio de Janeiro are more intent on pinching bananas off tourists, the endangered GLT slinks high above, burrowing tree holes 30 metres above to hide in once nightfall comes to protect themselves from hunters and predators.
Where in the Wild: In small pockets of the Altlantic forest surrounding Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Interesting Fact: GLT’s, despite being Brazilian, are for the most part, entirely monogamous.
Do say: I know a great new product for healthy, blond locks…
Don’t say: Even Cinderella stuck it past midnight…
Galapagos Penguin – Penguin Dads have a well-deserved reputation as model father figures. Not only do they split the role of carer during the little ones formative years straight down the middle, they even take control immediately after birth so the females can have a proper feed and rest. In the Galapagos, this family balance is in danger as the Galapagos Penguin battles extinction from just about every angle – weather, landscape erosion of their rock based habitat, human inbalance and other predators.
Where in the Wild: The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Interesting Fact: Measuring up to only 19 inches, these little tikes are the smallest penguins in South America.
Do say: Good things come in small packages.
Don’t say: The same weight as a Chihuahua? Perfect for my handbag.
The Spectacled Bear – Ever since Paddington tumbled into our lives from deepest, darkest Peru, Spectacled Bears have been put on the map. Defined by the interesting marking around their face, Paddington’s chums favour the cool, cloud forests of the Andes where they tend to live like lone rangers, expect when snatching beautiful girls from local villages, or so the legends go.
Where in the Wild: Peru, Colombia, Venezuela
Interesting Fact: The spectacled bear’s gall bladder is highly prized in Oriental medicine
Do say: Pass the Marmalade…
Don’t say: Should have gone to Spec Savers.
The Giant Armadillo- The oldest of mammals, the Giant Armadillo remains rather a mystery, only appearing at night after burrowing in holes during daylight to protect itself from being caught by indigenous local tribes for supper. Famous for their love of ants, these giant armadillos are capable of gobbling up an entire population of termites in one sitting- which gives them something to get their set of 100 teeth into.
Where in the Wild: The Tropical forests of South America, from Guyana down to Northern Argentina.
Interesting Fact: Armadillos can sleep on average 18 hours a day.
Do say: Fancy a tooth-pick?
Don’t say: I’ve got ants in my pants.
To set off on the trail of these endangered animals and more, while learning how your trip can help protect them, contact Dehouche.