Global Safaris: 8 Places to See Wild Animals Out of Africa
Cheetahs in Iran, wild giraffes in the Philippines, Arctic flamingos. You’ll find some surprising discoveries on these amazing global safaris.
Wild giraffes in the Philippines (Photo: Bill Fink)
Island of Lost Giraffes: Calauit Island, Philippines
On a remote island off the coast of rugged Palawan in the Philippines, wild giraffe, zebra, and impala run free. It’s as if Noah’s ark shipwrecked there years ago and was forgotten. The rumored story is almost more bizarre: some say former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies wanted a private hunting preserve stocked with African animals and had over 100 creatures shipped over from a fellow dictator in Africa. After Marcos’ regime was toppled, the park’s small staff (who deny the hunting stories) remained on Calauit for decades, tending to over 200 descendants of the original animals who wander the island munching mangos. It’s not easy to get there, but once I did, I found Calauit is now a welcoming Wildlife Preserve, allowing me walk among the zebra, feed giraffe and take a tour among some native species who are probably confused about their towering guests.
A polar bear in Torngat National Park (Photo: Bill Fink)
Walking in Polar Bear Territory: Torngat National Park, Canada.
Unlike the Disney-fied polar bear-mobiles ferrying thousands of tourists in Churchill, the remote Torngat wilderness of northern Labrador has a base camp from which visitors walk trails and camp in tents in polar bear country. I slept behind a thin electric fence, hiked by recently killed seal carcasses, but fortunately only had a close encounter with a polar bear from the safety of a tug boat deck as we chugged along a scenic fjord. On shore, under the watch of armed guards scanning the hills for bear, I chewed pieces of air-dried caribou jerky, and later dined on stewed seal and freshly caught Arctic char.
With an elephant in Thailand (Photo: Intrepid Travel)