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Wildlife in Latin

Wildlife in Latin America The Caiman As you sail along the rivers in the Amazon basin you are bound to run into this large aquatic reptile, which you will recognise by its body covered in scales and its eyes and nostrils which sit on the top of its head. This configuration enables it to see and breathe while the rest of its body remains under water. Caimans can reach lengths of up to 5 metres; they are the largest predator in the Amazon ecosystem. Since humans are the only predator they fear, caimans feed on anything they can hunt: fish, reptiles, birds, and even small mammals. Scarlet Ibis The scarlet ibis is a majestic bird found on the Pacific coast of Central America and the Greater Antilles. It has elegant red feathers and a beak that curves downwards. Its dazzling red plumage is due to its diet, which mainly consists of prawns and other crustaceans. The scarlet ibis spends most of its time in the marshy areas inland. It uses its long beak to find food in the mud flats and murky waters along Brazil’s shorelines. During your cruise, you could be lucky enough to spot these birds as they search for food. Sea Lions in the Sea of Cortez The sea lions in Baja California are very playful and rather friendly. They don’t hesitate to venture close to divers in the Sea of Cortez. Curious, they move like dancers in a ballet as they edge closer to inspect swimmers’ flippers and other equipment. You’ll be moved by their big, soft eyes that seem to beg for a pat, and you’ll be amused by their playful antics. The males are much larger and their sagittal crest is very pronounced. The females have a dark brown or reddish brown coat. An unforgettable encounter! The Sea Turtle The sea turtle is a fascinating animal found along the coast of Latin America. It weighs 160 kg on average and is one of the fastest of its species: it can swim at speeds of up to 35 km/h. In Latin America, you might encounter this species during a scuba dive or while snorkelling. With its hydrodynamic shell and front flippers, the sea turtle truly gives the impression of flying through the water. Most sea turtles only leave the water to lay their eggs. After securing the surrounding area, the female turtle uses her flippers to dig a hole measuring about 40 cm (15 inches) in which to deposit her eggs. The Llama The Spanish conquistadors called them ovejas (sheep) because of their long and thick wool, which is very useful to protect against the harsh Andean winter. The llama is the largest camelid in South America. Its oval head and its long hair in colours ranging from white to brown distinguish it from its cousins the alpaca, the vicuña and the guanaco. It is bred for its soft fur, used to make ponchos and blankets. The llama sometimes defends itself by spitting! During your cruise you will no doubt come across these curious animals, which move around the plateaux in small herds, often made up of one male and five females. The Magellanic Penguin Known for its boldness and agility, the Magellanic penguin owes its name to Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first to discover this species in 1519, during a voyage around the tip of South America. This penguin is small in size, has a black back and a white front marked by two black stripes: one under the chin and another in a horseshoe shape around the belly. This excellent swimmer mainly feeds on molluscs and crustaceans. During your landings, don’t be surprised: Magellanic penguins are very demonstrative and, often, when one starts to squawk the entire colony can end up joining in and raising quite a ruckus! 76 | Summer 2018/ Winter 2018-2019 Cruise

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 - Magellanic Penguins 2 - The Caiman 3 - The Scarlet Ibis 4 - Sea Lions in the Sea of Cortez 5 - Llamas 6 - The Sea Turtle Latin America Expeditions by | 77