The World of Wonder: Kicking off in Colombia

What the world's most biodiverse country has to offer

August 10th, 2016

 

Remember how I was going to go to Nicaragua? Then Costa Rica, then Panama? Well I'm in Colombia, so obviously that didn't happen. I overstayed my welcome in Belize by roughly two weeks, and don't have a whole lot to show for it, unfortunately. My plans were interrupted by category one Hurricane Earl, after which I was eager to continue on my journey. Given the timing and funding, heading straight to Colombia was the only option. The animals of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama will have to wait until a later date. 

So, Colombia. The most biodiverse country on the planet, with the highest rate of species by area worldwide, including ranking #1 in bird species. It also has the highest number of endemic species worldwide, or creatures that cannot be found anywhere else. This makes them both incredibly unique, and somewhat delicate, as they are super evolved to their specific environments and can have difficulty coping with changes. 

Colombia has a lot of unique geographic regions, which lends itself to said biodiversity. There are high mountain ranges (I'm currently hanging out around 9,000 ft in a small lakeside village called Guatavita), the coast borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, it has dense Central America jungle at the Panamanian Side and Amazonian jungle at the Brazilian side, and there's just about everything else in between. 

There's a lot to see here. Five weeks in Belize wasn't enough to even scratch the surface of the wildlife there, so two weeks in Colombia may reveal even less. Currently I'm tossing around the idea of coming back here for a much longer stretch of time, say 6-12 months, in order to more thoroughly explore this incredibly unique country.

That way I can show you:

  • the spectacled bear
  • cock-of-the-rock, a brightly colored bird with a hilarious name found in cloud forests
  • harpy eagles (I'm not letting this dream die)
  • six toucan species
  • the jaguarundi
  • marmosets
  • olinguitos 
  • anacondas
  • orinoco crocodiles
  • all sorts of caiman, including the dwarf caiman
  • freakin' river dolphins

With the help of trusted wildlife experts I'm optimistic that I'll collect some great photos and stories while I'm here. In the longer term, I'm planning to go deep into the jungles and high into the mountains to find the rarest, weirdest beasts of them all. 

Over and out,

Ali Wunderman

 

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