I took this picture of an Asiatic Leopard at the Safari Park in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. While tigers are probably my favorite animal of the big cat family, with a very close second going to the snow leopard, I’ve always admired the strength of leopards and the overall menace in their eyes (many people have commented on how piercing the eyes of a leopard are). Leopards are generally regarded as the strongest member of the big cat family on a pound-for-pound basis, which would make them the Manny Pacquiao of the big cat family, and I have no doubt that this animal would have no problems dispatching me to the netherworld even if I weigh considerably more than they do (leopards generally way about 100-150 pounds or so).
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Yang Nuan
Koh Tao and Koh Yang Nuan are islands were you can do some diving and snorkeling in the Gulf of Thailand. If you’re trying to get to these islands, your best option is to take a trip from the island of Koh Samui to get there. Koh Tao is one of the areas in Thailand where you can possibly see whale sharks (and regular ones!), and you will see lots of brightly colored tropical fish in the shallower snorkeling areas.
Given the recent announcement that the Thai government is considering restricting access to Koh Surin and The Similan Islands, it will be interesting to see if similar steps are taken to protect the coral for human development and other environmental pressures in other aquatic marine parks.
My first trip to Thailand included trips to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Koh Samui. When I was staying at the Amari on Chaweng Beach, I looked out and saw the trainer taking this young elephant out for an afternoon dip at the beach (if you end up going to nearly any of the high-end resorts in Thailand, it is quite likely that the hotel will have a resident elephant to entertain the guests during certain times of the day).
One of the reasons elephants are so involved in the tourist trade in Thailand, for better or worse, is that logging activities in Thailand have been greatly diminished to help preserve the little rainforest that is left. As the elephants and trainers still need to eat and work, you will find numerous places where you can take the elephant out for a jungle trek (the best jungle trek I’ve done has been in Chiang Mai).
This picture of a Binturong, aka a bearcat, was taken at the San Diego Zoo some time ago. This is probably one of the stranger looking mammals I’ve seen, almost as strange as an echidna or platypus, because it kind of looks like a cat, a raccoon and a sloth at the same time. The animal hits a weight of around 25-30 pounds, which would put in right in the neighborhood of a small dog (probably why some people in SouthEast Asia keep them as pets!).
Kind of bored today, with not too much to say about this particular picture. I will just say it is another stunning example of one of the many species of orchid that can be found in Southeast Asia;-)