fauna

Balam: Jaguars in Guatemala

The Maya had great respect and reverence for the jaguar, which they called balam. Jaguars were a symbol of power and strength and were believed to act as mediums for communication between the living and the dead. Scientists have been studying jaguars in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, but luckily, you don’t need to go traipsing through the jungle to see one: Guatemala City’s excellent zoo has jaguars, as does Petén’s ARCAS wildlife rescue center.

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Puerto Rico’s Coqui Tree Frog

There is one sweet sound unlike any other that you can hear throughout the island of Puerto Rico at night, and that is the song of the coqui tree frog. Rarely seen but often heard, these tiny translucent amphibians are the beloved mascot of the island.

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Belize’s War Against Lionfish

The Caribbean region’s coral reef has been battling an invasive, voracious, and predatory fish—destructive enough that it can devastate an entire reef system: the red lionfish (Pterois volitans). Belize is no exception. Countrywide, the war against the spread of lionfish is ongoing; here’s how Belize is fighting back.

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Puerto Rico’s Paso Fino Horses

Although not indigenous to Puerto Rico, the Paso Fino horse is closely associated with the island because it was here and in the Dominican Republic where the Spanish conquistadors first introduced the mixed-breed horse. The Paso Fino are superb saddle horses thanks to their unusual gait, high level of endurance, great agility, and remarkable obedience.

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Guatemala’s Land Mammals

Guatemala’s list of native land mammals is impressive, with a large variety of exotic cats, primates, and other furry creatures. Here’s a little about popular and common species, along with when and where you’re likely to sight them.

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Monkeys in Costa Rica

The liveliest and most vocal rainforest tenants, there are four species of monkeys found in Costa Rica: the white-faced (or capuchin), howler, spider, and squirrel. Their daily habits are as varied as the wide range of habitats they occupy, from the rainforest canopy to the scrubby undergrowth of the dry forests, though each species has its own niche and the species seldom meet.

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Animals Found in Costa Rica

Anyone who has traveled in the tropics in search of wildlife can tell you that disappointment comes easy. But Costa Rica is one place that lives up to its reputation. Costa Rica is nature’s live theater—and the actors aren’t shy. Learn about the hundreds of animals you’re likely–and not–to spot in Costa Rica.

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Bird Watching on Moloka‘i

Although many of Hawaii’s original bird species have gone the way of the dodo, there are still a number of rare and critically endangered native bird species clinging to existence high in the Moloka‘i forests or down on the protected seashore. For a chance a spotting one yourself, visit these protected Moloka‘i areas.

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Experience the Life of the City

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Moon author Allison Williams

Allison Williams (Moon Seattle)

Allison worked as a writer and editor in New York City for eight years. When the lure of the Northwest became impossible to ignore, she relocated to Seattle and has since realized two lifelong dreams: summiting Mount Rainier and poking sticks into the campfire without being yelled at.

She earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where her fiction thesis won the Jason Wenger Award for Literary Excellence. Her journalistic work has been recognized with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and a nomination from the City and Regional Magazine Association. As senior editor at Seattle Met magazine, she covers travel and the outdoors by hiking every trail and driving every road she can find on a map.

You can follow Allison on Twitter (@aliwill) and Instagram (@aliwill12).